Conceptual approach to community-involved, drone-assisted meteorite searching: strategy to find fusion-crusted meteorites

A. Glazyrina, Z. Hamers, Quinn van der Schaar , S.J. de Vet*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientific


Meteorites offer valuable insights into the composition of asteroids and geological processes contributing to planet formation inside the solar system. Their rapid retrieval after fireball sightings allows this science potential to be used. Finding new meteorites is notoriously difficult due to various complicating factors. A promising search strategy can involve the aerial vantage point of drones (aka: UAV, RPAS). However, drone regulations by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and complex zonation of airspace will impact flight operations, which makes drone-assisted searching in Europe more complex than in e.g. desert environments. Here we present the results of an interdisciplinary desk study, which aimed at proposing a conceptual framework for drone-assisted meteorite searching. We propose the development of an open-source detection and coordination tool to improve aerial assistance by drones during field searches. The design provides drone enthusiasts (referred to as ‘community drones’) and researchers with a platform to coordinate joint drone-based search operations. Image processing is envisioned to take place via a convolutional neural network pipeline, after which high-likelihood locations are identified and manually verified to recover a potential meteorite. This approach will require the development of multiple models to account for variations in soils and vegetation. The tool supports multi-drone coordination, providing path planning functionality and support for a broad range of (commercially) available drone models (e.g. DJI) and sensor types (e.g. RGB, thermal). Considering EASA drone regulations, the use of the DJI Mini 3 Pro is favoured as an accessible community drone. Follow-up research, implementing the proposed conceptual approach, should validate the design presented here and highlight practical areas of improvement.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the IMC, Redu, 2023
EditorsUrška Pajer , Cis Verbeeck
PublisherInternational Meteor Organization
ISBN (Electronic)978-2-87355-036-3
Publication statusPublished - 2024


Dive into the research topics of 'Conceptual approach to community-involved, drone-assisted meteorite searching: strategy to find fusion-crusted meteorites'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this