Sunday, March 20, 2011


There are millions of dust fragments which enter earth's atmosphere daily. Many, in fact majority of them burn after entering the atmosphere. These are all of football size. What if a giant asteroid is heading towards earth?How can we track it? How do we know what's hitting the earth?


NASA has an answer to thins question. NASA has recently deployed a network of smart cameras to track the objects entering into the earth atmosphere.Groups of smart cameras in the new meteor network triangulate the fireballs' paths, and special software uses the data to compute their orbits and email Cooke his morning message.
Apart from just providing the paths of the objects hitting the earth with the help of a software specially designed for this purpose. The smart cameras also provide the speed as a function of size.Meteorite hunters will reap benefits too. By determining a bright fireball's trajectory through the atmosphere, the network's software can calculate whether it will plunge to Earth and pinpoint the impact location fairly precisely


How to make use of this technology.
All cameras in the network send their fireball information to Cooke and to a public website, fireballs.ndc.nasa.gov. Teachers can contact Cooke at William.J.Cooke@nasa.gov to request teacher workshop slides containing suggestions for classroom use of the data. Students can learn to plot fireball orbits and speeds, where the objects hit the ground, how high in the atmosphere the fireballs burn up, etc.(abstract from NASA press release.