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RE: Meteorite Tracking
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A new-generation network of sophisticated digital cameras will be rolled out on Western Australia's Nullarbor Plain to better track the origin of meteorites and where they land on earth.
Using a network of cameras to locate meteorites on earth could supplement and provide a low-cost alternative to expensive space missions, scientists say.
For the past few years, a trial of four film-based, high-resolution cameras, located across the Nullarbor on cattle and sheep stations, has been under way.
Later this year, scientists will update the network using digital cameras with more sophisticated image processors.

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Nullarbor
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It is very hot, very flat, and very bare. You might also consider it very ugly. Explorer Edward John Eyre, the first European to cross it in 1841, reportedly described it as "a hideous anomaly, a blot on the face of nature". Others find its bleakness perversely beautiful. At first glance, it may look like a whole lot of nothing, but there is far more to the Nullarbor than meets the eye.
The name comes from the Latin "null" for "nothing" and "arbor" for "tree" - an appropriate name for the 1200-kilometre-wide swathe of desolation straddling the border between South and Western Australia. Still, the Nullarbor has become a magnet for tourists, scientists and potholers, not to mention 32 Postie bike riders, who on 7 May will begin an attempt to cross this inhospitable plain on second-hand Hondas bought from the Australia Post.

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Nullarbor Desert Blog
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Two scientists from the Natural History Museum (NHM) in London are blogging their way across western Australia as they search for meteorites, and it’s a good read.

Museum meteorite curator Caroline Smith and meteorite researcher Gretchen Benedix arrived in Australia on September 26, and arming themselves with supplies set out on October 11 into the Nullarbor Desert, where they expect to find plenty of meteorites. They're keeping an online diary on the NHM website which you can read at piclib.nhm.ac.uk/meteorite-blog

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Meteorite Tracking
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Meteorite Tracking
An international team of scientists has begun installing meteorite-tracking cameras on the Nullarbor, in south-eastern Western Australia, in an attempt to learn more about the universe.

For the past two years the team has successfully recorded material falling from the sky at a site just outside Kalgoorlie-Boulder, using a highly sophisticated camera.

The success of the trial has prompted the scientists, from Britain, Czechoslovakia and Australia, to install permanent cameras at three remote pastoral stations on the Nullarbor.
Phil Bland from the Imperial College of London says tracking meteorites could help unlock some of the mysteries of the universe.

"With meteorites, we've got a random bag of rocks and what we're trying to do is work out where those different rocks come from, if we get that, it should help us work out how planets were formed, how the solar system came together and also how you make planets generally out in the universe" - Phil Bland .

The Nullarbor Plain is thought to be a former seabed. About 20-25 million years ago, the whole area was uplifted by crustal movements. The Nullarbor Plain now is a vast area of flat, almost treeless, arid or semi-arid country immediately north of the Great Australian Bight. The word Nullarbor is derived from the Latin for "no trees".

It is the world's largest single piece of limestone, and occupies an area of about 200,000 sq km (77,200 sq miles). At its widest point, it stretches about 1200 km from east to west between South Australia (SA) and Western Australia (WA).

Meteorites contain a record of processes ranging from the pre-solar stellar evolution of our galactic neighbourhood, to protoplanetary disk formation and evolution, and the accretion and differentiation of planetesimals and protoplanets in the early solar system.
But unlike geologists, planetary scientists must interpret this unique record with no spatial context to help them: with precise orbital data for only a few samples, we don't really know where individual meteorites come from. Camera networks, designed to calculate orbits and fall positions of meteorites based on observations of fireballs, have been in operation for several decades but have recovered only a small number of samples – meteorites are very difficult to find in vegetated areas.
The researchers have solved this problem by setting up a network in a place where they already know they can recover meteorites – the Nullarbor desert of Western Australian.
The first camera was installed at a test site in Australia in October 2003 and has performed flawlessly since that date, taking images of fireballs, several large enough to have dropped meteorites.

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