Scientists develop new system to hunt smaller meteorite sites

Scientists develop new system to hunt smaller meteorite sites

Finding large meteorites or their impact sites is easy to find on Earth; however, the smaller ones often go neglected. Only 2 percent of them are recovered by scientists. But, this is something that robots might be better at than humans.

As per a report from Universe Today, scientists have developed a system that enables autonomous drones to leverage machine learning to find the smaller meteorites in impact sites that go unnoticed or are inaccessible.  

Autonomous drones to help in future

The new technology will use a mix of convolutional neural networks to identify meteorites based on training images. It will have a set of images from both online as well as staged shots from the team’s collection. This will allow the AI to distinguish between space rocks and ordinary stones, even with a variety of shapes and terrain conditions.

The results are promising. A test drone managed to accurately identify planted meteorites, there were also some false findings. It’s possible that after some time robotic aircraft will be trustworthy enough to offer accurate results on their own.

The implications for space science could be significant if the technology makes it mainstream. It would allow researchers to spot and potentially recover meteorites that are very small and inaccessible. It will eventually help mark meteorite sources and determine their compositions. In simpler words, drones will enable humans to understand the cosmic debris that crashed on Earth.

Cosmic debris not always useful

Speaking of space rocks, space agencies have been planning to prevent Earth from potentially hazardous space rocks. Recently, Chinese researchers proposed sending 20 rockets to practice diverting asteroids away from Earth.

As per their simulations, 23 Long March 5 rockets that weigh 900 tonnes could divert an asteroid from its original path by almost 9,000 km when hit simultaneously.

NASA also has a similar mission called HAMMER (Hypervelocity Asteroid Mitigation Mission for Emergency Response) in the works. But this approach is costlier than what China has proposed and will require 25 years prior warning before the collision, while China’s plan will only need a 10-year warning ahead of the collision.

Disclaimer: The above article has been aggregated by a computer program and summarised by an Steamdaily specialist. You can read the original article at universetoday
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