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CANCELED Seminar Speaker: Dr. Marc Fries
February 15 @ 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Research Scientist at the Planetary Sciences Institute
Title: “Modern Meteorite Fall Recovery – New Technologies such as Twitter, Lightning Sensors, and Weather Radar”
Advances in “crowdsourcing” and publicly available data sources have a broad impact on our lives, and are driving the growth of surprising new capabilities in meteorite fall detection and recovery. Historically, meteorites were typically collected when found by accident, on the rare instance when one fell near eyewitnesses or struck a dwelling, or with intensive efforts such as early film-based camera surveillance. Today, the spread of social media has de facto created an extended network of meteorite fall observers, by widespread notification of falls through sources such as Facebook and Twitter. Also, data from new detectors are increasingly available through open data portals – among them weather radar data, seismometry, and lightning sensors. These sensors turn out to be powerful means to detect new meteorite falls and accurately identify their location, often within hours or even minutes of a meteorite fall. For example, on 01 Feb 2019 a large meteorite fall occurred in broad daylight in Cuba. Within an hour, pictures circulated on social media of meteorites recovered at the fall site. Within three hours, major news networks had posted articles describing the fall to a global audience. By the end of the weekend, a comprehensive analysis of the fall had been performed by a loose consortium of scientists and meteorite enthusiasts, based on accumulated eyewitness accounts, seismometry data, weather radar imagery, satellite sensor suites from at least two different satellite constellations, and other data. The meteorite strewn field was calculated and disseminated to assist in meteorite recovery, and hypotheses had been drawn up on the type, origin, and significance of the recovered meteorites. Modern meteorite recovery can be studied as a model for improving techniques and outreach via incorporation of crowd-based and data access technologies.