a bottle of Foreo Luna Night Cleanser floating in space

Not long ago, I received a press release about Foreo Luna Night Cleanser ($35.95). What caught my eye was the sentence “meteorite powder found in the Night Cleanser contains rare elements that cleanse and very gently but effectively exfoliate to purify and soften the skin.” Meteorite powder? Would that be powder from actual meteorites, that is to say solid bits of debris from asteroids or comets. The stuff that’s been whizzing through outer space and survived its impact with the Earth's surface?

My mind was immediately racing at the speed of light. Had the powder in this cleanser killed a dinosaur? How would you go about getting meteorite powder? Is it mined? Come to think of it, aren’t meteorites comparatively rare? At least rare enough not be pulverized into a skin cleansing ingredient? I needed answers to my questions.

If you Google meteorite powder, not much comes up outside of planet Foreo. Well, except a cute GIF on Pinterest for making your own meteorite with sand, flour and cocoa powder. Could be the makings of a cleanser.

So I decided to go a little deeper into the whole meteorite thing. I wanted to know how much meteorite was lying around on the earth anyway.

According to Ask An Astronomer estimates for the amount of meteorite matter landing on Earth each year range from 37,000-78,000 tons. Most of this is dust-sized particles. A study done in 1996 (looking at the number of meteorites found in deserts over time) calculated that for objects in the 10 gram to 1 kilogram size range, 2,900-7,300 kilograms per year hit Earth. But most meteorites are too small to actually fall all the way to the surface.

So much of the meteorite matter coming down to Earth is dust. Which is powder. Powder that could go into a cleanser. But how would one — Foreo — gather it. Do they have a giant vacuum pointed at the skies?

Now remember that Foreo talks about “rare elements” that “purify the skin.” This leads me to my next question. What is a meteorite made up of? About 86% of the meteorites that fall on Earth are chondrites. Mostly melted silica, but organic matter has been found, such as amino acids (which are in us). Baby, we are all just star dust!

Most meteorites are found objects, lying around in the sand waiting to be picked up. There are 38,660 well-documented meteorite finds, according to Wikipedia. There’s many an amateur meterorite hunter and I imagine them fanning out across the Great Plains each with some kind of Geiger counter thingy, a large magnet and wearing a Foreo emblazoned hoodie.

But why hand over your meteorite to Foreo when there’s eBay, where I’m told, meteorite’s fetch “$300.00 per gram or more — meaning a 1 pound meteorite can be worth a million dollars.”