Delft Meteorite Lab: a virtual environment to explore meteorites and meteorWrongs

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


Assessing and classifying rocks on the basis of their visual traits has been a long standing practise for geoscience fields. For planetary geoscience the interaction with astrogeological materials such as meteorites and impactites contributes to the comprehension of their properties, alteration and, ultimately, solar system formation processes. In the wake of the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic we explored alternative options to involve meteorites and impactites in remote teaching. Simultaneously, this opened up the integration of meteorites in teaching activities for large groups of learners. We have developed a workflow using Structure from Motion (SfM) photogrammetry to render high-resolution digital 3D models of meteorites and impact rocks. This procedure was used to create a virtual collection with tens of examples that were made publicly accessible in an online environment. The digital 3D models can be inspected by rotating and zooming, while annotations in clickable pop-ups direct users to key features or provide background information and data. We evaluated the user experience and discuss how virtual collections can be created and used for blended learning. Meanwhile, we have explored the use of models in the ‘Delft Meteorite Lab’ in academic teaching, public outreach and science applications. The virtual collection also offers a potential resource to aid the identification of putative meteorite finds by the general public. Looking towards the future, a new ‘Dutch Meteorite Lab’ aims become a national hub for education and research to explore meteorites and meteorite taxonomy based on specimen available in various study collections across the Netherlands.
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


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