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Going global with the Desert Fireball Network (DFN): Opportunities and Challenges

Yara Al-Rajeh
Education & Public Outreach
Delivered As: 
Abstract Text: 

 Desert Fireball Network (DFN)
SSERVI’s Australian partnership at Curtin University runs the Desert Fireball Network with its network of digital cameras in the outback desert of Australia. By making networked observations of meteoritic fireballs, they can triangulate their trajectories, track the rocks forward to where they land, and back to where they came from in the solar system.
The research has the exciting potential to correlate physical samples retrieved on Earth with asteroid families identified in space. SSERVI’s Australia node is interested in extending this network to locations outside of Australia to locations with dark skies and open deserts that complement to the desert of the Australian Outback.

 DFN Public Outreach: Fireballs in the Sky
The program also comes with a very exciting citizen science, education and outreach component, Fireballs in the Sky ( This includes an app for Android and iOS that allows students and the general public to get involved with the Desert Fireball Network research by recording and reporting time, location, and paths of their own meteor sightings to the network’s scientists. Those reports are then used to track the trajectories of meteors – from their orbit in space to where they might have landed on Earth.

More information about DFN:

Collaboration opportunities/areas
• Research: The DFN is a collaborative effort between a number of international universities and institutions. The DFN team involves specialists from multiple disciplines including geologists, planetary scientists, astrophysicists, petrologists, mineralogists, mechatronic engineers,
• Host a camera: Provide sites for camera Installation.
• Public Outreach: with DFN citizen science component, Fireballs in the Sky.

This presentation will focus on areas of potential collaboration to extend the reach of the Desert Fireball Network and achieve a network of networks locally and around the world. The presentation will look at the ideal range of criteria for locations and partners that can make the most of the DFN. In addition, this presentation will explore some of the anticipated challenges and opportunities that might arise from extending such a collaborative project with various components, in particular, public engagement components. That is, taking into consideration aspects of society, culture, geography, research culture, etc. that need to be identified prior to undertaking a multi-component international collaborative endeavor.

"Jan Deca (1,2), Andrey Divin (3,4), Xu Wang (1,2), Bertrand Lembège (5), Stefano Markidis (6), Giovanni Lapenta (7), Mihály Horányi (1,2)...
SSERVI Identifier: 

Recognizing that science and human exploration are mutually enabling, NASA created the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) to address basic and applied scientific questions fundamental to understanding the Moon, Near Earth Asteroids, the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos, and the near space environments of these target bodies. As a virtual institute, SSERVI funds investigators at a broad range of domestic institutions, bringing them together along with international partners via virtual technology to enable new scientific efforts."