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Meteorite found thanks to a drone in Australia

In the event of the recent discovery ofEndurance, the ship Ernest Shackleton sank in the Antarctic seas in 1905, the submerged ships were decisive: we are talking about drones, which have recently become great allies of scientific research. And now also “The Search for Meteorites”. In fact, a group of researchers from Curtin University in Australia was able to locate a meteorite that fell to Earth, in Western Australia, using a drone.

how We read about astrophysicsI was able to do it in just four days thanks to this car and Desert Fireball Net (DFN), a series of observers that track and trace meteors, or what we more commonly call “falling stars,” from the moment they enter Earth’s atmosphere and as far as they can. Here’s how it went.

A researcher from Curtin University (Australia) indicates where the meteorite fell: We are in a desert region of Western Australia. It is the first time that a drone has participated in the discovery.
© Seamus Anderson / Curtin University

Small steps. Two DFN observers observed an object entering the atmosphere for 3.1 seconds. The first observed it for a distance of 149 kilometers, and the second for a distance of 471. By crossing the data of the two observations, an area of ​​5 square kilometers was determined, in which the meteorite is believed to have fallen. However, the area was still too large for the volunteers to sift it inch by inch, also because it was about finding a stone no larger than 10 centimeters in diameter.

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So the Curtin University team relied on an artificial intelligence algorithm and a drone. Using images of known meteorites found in Australian-like environments, they trained the algorithm what to look for. Then they launched the drone to collect images of the terrain for input into the algorithm. It took about three days for a DJI M300 drone with a camera to cover and capture the entire area.

have found! In the next stage, the AI ​​combed through the images and finally found the image most likely to immortalize the object. At that point, researchers went to the place and actually located the meteorite. show weight? 70 grams only. It must be said that the area in which it fell was a desert and it was relatively easy to completely conquer it with a drone. It would have been completely different if the object had fallen into a wooded area or into the city.

One of the photos taken by the drone.  In the yellow square the meteor.

One of the photos taken by a drone with a camera. In the yellow square the meteor.
© Seamus Anderson / Curtin University

The meteorite found in the Australian desert: It is an object weighing 70 grams.

The meteorite found in the Australian desert: It is an object weighing 70 grams.
© Seamus Anderson / Curtin University

Earl Warner

"Devoted bacon guru. Award-winning explorer. Internet junkie. Web lover."

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