France is building the world’s biggest automated meteor-spotting network

France is building one of the the world’s first fully-connected and automated meteor-spotting network with a new project called FRIPON — standing for the distinctly sci-fi sounding “Fireball Recovery and InterPlanetary Observation Network.”

What FRIPON aims to do is to establish a country-wide camera system able to identify meteorites and then alert the authorities. When a meteorite is spotted by a FRIPON camera, it sends a message to a central computer located in Paris. If two cameras or more spot the same fireball, an email is sent to FRIPON scientists. Long-term, the plan is for this to extend to messages, including automated information about where a meteor is likely to have landed.

By using such an advanced system it is hoped that FRIPON will aid in the collection of one tracked meteorite every single year from somewhere in France. If that sounds like a small number, consider that researchers with the not-dissimilar Spanish Meteor Network have only captured two meteorites in the past 12 years!

“This is a great opportunity to learn more about meteors in our skies and recover fragments from them,” Mike Hankey, a software developer and Operations Manager for the American Meteor Society, tells Digital Trends. “Meteor science is relatively new and all-sky monitoring — while in existence for decades — is segmented, mostly executed by amateurs or universities on a country-by-country or regional basis using proprietary non-open systems. FRIPON is open source and, from what I’ve heard, the hardware will be made available outside of the French network. For this reason, we’re very excited about FRIPON and it’s future potential use in the United States.”

Currently FRIPON has 68 cameras installed across France, although it hopes to scale to 100 by the end of this year. Most ambitious of all, however, is a plan to train an army of volunteers who will, in the years to come, aid with the process of finding the landed meteors.


Genesis, Kia, and Hyundai top 2019 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study

Genesis, Kia, and Hyundai took the top three spots in the 2019 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, while Jaguar ranked lowest. J.D. Power surveys owners for problems with new vehicles.
Smart Home

Hate messy wires? Check out the best wireless home security cameras

Home security cameras can give you piece of mind, but if they have wires, you are limited in where you can put them. We've rounded up the best battery-operated home security cameras to give you flexibility along with your security.
Emerging Tech

Walmart using A.I.-powered cameras to spot dodgy shoppers at self-checkouts

Walmart is using computer vision technology at some of its stores in an effort to spot sneaky behavior at its self-checkout counters. The A.I.-powered cameras automatically identify any dodgy activity and then alert staff.

Hit up some hot spots and earn ten battle stars with our Fortnite weekly guide

The Fortnite season 9, week 6 challenges are now available. This week's guide is on a multi-stage challenge that will task you to search ammo boxes and chests, and eliminate enemies at a hot spot on the Battle Royale map.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX is on a hiring spree for its Starlink global internet project

After a string of delays, SpaceX's Starlink project was finally launched last month. Now an analysis of data from SpaceX's job listings shows the company is on a hiring tear, advertising for more and more positions for the project.
Emerging Tech

Ready to roll: Mars 2020 rover fitted with wheels ahead of mission next year

The Mars 2020 rover is getting ready for its trip to the red planet next year. The latest step in readying the rover is installing its wheels and suspension system, which engineers at NASA have been doing this month.
Emerging Tech

Want to work in the stars? Here are six future space jobs you could hold

Ever dreamed of leaving Earth to work in the stars? Here's a list of job titles that might sound like science fiction now, but almost certainly won’t a decade or two in the future.
Emerging Tech

You can help search for aliens with an open access release of SETI data

The Breakthrough Initiatives, a program to search for extraterrestrial intelligence, recently analyzed its first three years of radio telescope data. And all of the data collected is being made publicly available in an open data archive.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Illuminated keyboards and a retro gaming console

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

The U.K.’s biggest (and only) asteroid mining company has designs on our skies

Is the founder and CEO of the U.K.'s Asteroid Mining Corporation going to be among the first people to strike it rich in space, or is he just chasing an ambitious but doomed mirage?
Emerging Tech

Tiny galaxy has huge black hole at its center, gives clues to galactic evolution

A Hubble image shows a tiny galaxy which could hold the clue to unraveling a longstanding question about the evolution of galaxies. Despite its small size, it hosts a feature found in much larger galaxies -- a supermassive black hole.
Emerging Tech

Dark matter galaxy crashed into the Milky Way, causing the ripples in its disk

New research suggests hundreds of million of years ago, the Milky Way collided with Antlia 2, a nearby dwarf galaxy dominated by dark matter. The collision caused ripples in the disk of gas around the Milky Way which we still observe today.
Emerging Tech

Uranus’ rings shine brightly but hold a puzzle for astronomers

New images reveal the rings around Uranus, which are almost invisible to most telescopes. But there's a strange puzzle about them -- why they don't contain any small dust-sized particles.
Emerging Tech

U.S. Navy is working on making its fleet invisible to computerized surveillance

The U.S. Navy’s ever-innovative Office of Naval Research is working on a way to turn the United States military fleet invisible. Well, to cutting-edge image-recognition systems, at least.