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Ask Slashdot: What Gadgets Would You Use For Hunting Meteorites?

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the can't-beat-a-trusty-tricorder dept.

Science 130

DrPeper writes "I may have an opportunity to assist a pair of renowned meteorite hunters (yes, the ones on the Science Channel). Being the MacGyver-type everywhere I've worked and a consummate geek, I thought I would pose a question to the Slashdot community. If you were to go meteorite hunting, what gadgets would you use? I've already thought of using a UAV with a radio gradiometer, or attaching a coil to a quadrocopter, blimp, or terrestrial robot. (The point of which would be to have it automatically produce a gradient map of the density of ferrous metals in a given area.) Any other crazy ideas out there?"

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What gadget? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35617400)

A gun.

Re:What gadget? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35617492)

With a night scope, mos def.

Re:What gadget? (2)

toastar (573882) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618416)

You thought sniping someone in car going 60 is hard, just try hitting a small flaming piece of rock going about 100,000 MPH.

Re:What gadget? (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#35620098)

Yes, you really need at least a cruise missile to even have a chance.

But really, THE vehicle to use was the space shuttle. You could store a number of missiles in the cargo bay, it was fairly roomy inside for the tailgating party, and it was reasonably maneuverable. It's the 4x4 of space travel.

Re:What gadget? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35619310)

Meteor Crater in Arizona yielded it's meteor only after someone used a gun.

Seems they shot a pistol at the ground from various angles and measured the slight variation in rim height around the impact.

Then measured around Meteor Crater to figure out the angle and dug a little and found it.

So a gun could be handy if you can find the crater.

.

Re:What gadget? (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 3 years ago | (#35620068)

A shovel. And a helmet.

Frickin' Lasers (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35617402)

Enough said

How about that new automated night sky watcher (2)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617436)

You know the one that was on /. the other day that NASA has setup cameras around the country that capture pictures of metorites and which calculates trajectory, distance, and potential landing sites....

Re:How about that new automated night sky watcher (1)

DrPeper (249585) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617496)

Yes I thought of that as soon as the article hit. However there are less than 10 camera sites at this time, and all of them are on the east coast. None in the midwest or west. I've seen mention of a different (but similar) system in the southwest, but I've been unable to hunt down what it's called and who runs it.

Re:How about that new automated night sky watcher (1)

cthulhu11 (842924) | more than 3 years ago | (#35620264)

Fewer than ten, not less than ten. A grammar cop's job is never done.

Re:How about that new automated night sky watcher (1)

cthulhu11 (842924) | more than 3 years ago | (#35620254)

Said cameras would be capturing pictures of meteors, not meteorites. I can't believe that some non-digest-reading pedant hasn't beat me to this.

Barret 50 (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35617438)

Meteorites tend to be made of metal and thick enough to shrug off most hunting rounds with ease.
Barret 50 is the hunting weapon you need. Now who said it didn't have a sporting purpose?!

Let's see... (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617440)

Let's see... Falcon 9, Bigelow Spacehab, Dragon Capsule, Canadarm/Dextre, Spacesuit...

Oh! Meteor-ITE. Right. Nevermind then.

Tower Hobbies (1)

milbournosphere (1273186) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617442)

Head over to Tower Hobbies and find yourself a cheap, decently built RTF trainer. Add a boostercam (http://www.boostervision.com/boostervision/default.asp) and with some minor modifications you should be good to go. Plus, RC is a great hobby to get into if you aren't already.

Re:Tower Hobbies (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617890)

I think he'd have lots of fun, but he'd probably find more meteorites with a pair of sunglasses and hiking boots.

Re:Tower Hobbies (1)

milbournosphere (1273186) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617982)

Yeah, I realized my error after posting, but was hoping it'd fall into /. obscurity. The camera just wouldn't work for him. Still, a basic RTF trainer would be a cheap way to build a map area, and possibly serve as a platform for a more advanced camera.

Easy (-1, Troll)

slushslash1 (2026340) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617448)

Just follow instructions in this blog [blog.com] I actually found one once!

Re:Easy (1)

EkriirkE (1075937) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617482)

I think you found a diamond, not a lump of...

WARNING: Parent is Goatse (2)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617484)

WARNING: Parent is Goatse

Goatse alert (2)

MMatessa (673870) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617532)

Don't click on the blog link above unless you've got eye bleach...

Re:Goatse alert (4, Informative)

MrQuacker (1938262) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617562)

http://eyebleach.com/ [eyebleach.com]

Only helps slightly.

Re:Goatse alert (2)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618626)

> http://eyebleach.com/ [eyebleach.com]

This is a clear case of misogynistic representation of men and women as objects of sexual desire. If any of you filthy people have other links like that I think the best solution is for you to post them here, so we can get this problem out in the open.

Hunting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35617460)

A plasma ray gun with a 50 watt range of course!

Go robotic... (2)

Cheerio Boy (82178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617464)

A Roomba installed into an oversize frame with extra batteries, and these magnets on the bottom:

United Nuclear [unitednuclear.com]

For extra points install a solar charging system. ;-)

Re:Go robotic... (1)

DrPeper (249585) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618172)

Actually this is one of the ideas we are throwing around. iRobot actually makes a military robot that can handle any terrain. I'm thinking of attaching the coil from a metal detector to it, then programming it to automatically drive a grid pattern on its own. Then coordinating the data onto a map so that you get a color gradient map of the ferrous metal densities on that map. Then you'd know where the higher concentration of ferrous metals are and probably a better chance at finding a meteorite.

Re:Go robotic... (1)

DrPeper (249585) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618222)

And if that magnet is a neodymium iron boron kind, that would scare the heck out of me.

Re:Go robotic... (1)

Grog6 (85859) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618594)

That's probably the best option.

You need good metal detectors that can handle the vertical component of the motion, otherwise you will get a lot of 'noise hits' due to mineral content in the ground.

Also, the discriminator needs to be variable, to be able to be set to pick up iron, not gold or silver, as some cheaper machines have fixed settings.

The large neo-magnet is also a good idea; but a big find will rip it from the frame of the robot, most likely. (Like you'd care...)

Good hunting!

Simple (3, Insightful)

Goody (23843) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617470)

I would use whatever the renowned meteorite hunters are using. They must be renowned meteorite hunters for a reason, and probably know what gear to use.

Re:Simple (1)

mim (535591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617688)

Insightful? Wait, what? Who's modding this? This is funny!

Re:Simple (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617696)

Probably the only area /. might be able to help them would be in something to do with data mining or computer visualization... the meatspace gadgets used for finding meteorites run pretty deep.

A few odds and ends... (3, Funny)

nebaz (453974) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617472)

Two pounds of semtex, an egg timer, radiation suit, 3 rolls of duct tape, and NO QUESTIONS ASKED. I'm sorry, what were we looking for again?

Re:A few odds and ends... (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617820)

You... we are looking for you... Have a seat...

Budget? (1)

funkatron (912521) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617486)

If you're on a budget then the only really viable option is a tractor beam, bring them down to the ground. Entering the atmosphere and a hard landing means that you get ready killed part cooked meteorite to take home.

Umm, a metal detector? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35617488)

I've already thought of using a UAV with a radio gradiometer, or attaching a coil to a quadrocopter, blimp, or terrestrial robot. (The point of which would be to have it automatically produce a gradient map of the density of ferrous metals in a given area.) Any other crazy ideas out there?"

Yeah, OK.

look to history (4, Funny)

Jeek Elemental (976426) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617490)

dressing up as a dinosaur should do the trick

Re:look to history (1)

andr00oo (915001) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618096)

> dressing up as a dinosaur should do the trick
Dorothy [wikipedia.org] 's been doing that for years and all she ever found was roses and men in skivvies.

us going war of the worlds on the world? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35617508)

we were expecting a vote, text message, something? no, we have to read/watch about it in spanish, swahili, youtubeian.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=bX7hMj2NKTc#at=120

anything to stop ourselves from thinking about our questionable religious training, bogus math, science, weather & history history.

1) Garden Hose 2) Your House 3) Big magnet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35617510)

get three things:

1) Garden Hose

2) Your House

3) Big magnet

Put the big magnet in a (ice cream or oil pan) bucket under the downspout of your gutters.

Spray the top of your house with the garden hose completely, making sure to cover every inch, adjust the magnet to be in the water stream as is enters the bucket.

Pick off the little bits that stick to your magnet.

Each sticky bit on the magnet is a meteorite that entered the atmosphere to burn up and shrink in size small enough to land softly on your roof.

Re:1) Garden Hose 2) Your House 3) Big magnet (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619302)

not to far from the truth actually. However, it works better if you don't have shingles (terrestrial ferrous materials in the sand on the shingles can lead to false positives.) So, metal roof, which you hose once to clean, then ignore for a year, and hose again for meteor droppings.

Re:1) Garden Hose 2) Your House 3) Big magnet (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#35620010)

However, it works better if you don't have shingles

Well, I've got a rash, but I don't thinkit's shingles. Does that count?

A Harpoon! (-1, Offtopic)

MrQuacker (1938262) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617546)

We're whalers on the moon,

We carry a harpoon.

But there ain't no whales

So we tell tall tales

And sing our whaling tune.

Hunting Meteorites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35617550)

I'd use a time machine.

Ebay (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617552)

What? You want an explanation?

Primary Concern (1)

pz (113803) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617564)

The primary concern should be to make the search better or faster than what can be done by humans without the gadgets.

What can machines do better than humans? Sense magnetic fields. Process signals faster. Move faster. Perform repetitive tasks in an automated fashion.

Whatever you do, be sure to test before you do any serious field work and take plenty of spare parts.

Do you have an Android phone...? (1)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617576)

I'm not exactly familiar with the sensitivity of a typical magnetometer in an Android phone, but you could theoretically use them to find magnetic anomalies caused by the metal. Download one of the free metal detector apps, or just the one called Tricorder, which is also free, and lets you access many of the sensors, after which you can use the magnetometer to pick up anomalous flux densities indicative of a piece of metal underground.

Good luck, and good hunting!

My Aunt Betsey (1)

mim (535591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617588)

If those meteorites were trying to hide she'd find them in less than a heartbeat.

A large gravity well! (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617612)

Or if you're talking about boring terrestrial meteor hunting, you just need a good magnet, gps and metal detector.

Improved metal detector array (1)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617662)

I watched one episode where the meteorite hunter guys were using a home-made metal-detector that was made from PVC pipe and hitched onto a vehicle. They were having problems because the thing kept breaking. Using PVC pipe is a fine way to fabricate stuff quick and dirty, but there was just so much room for improvement in their design. Even just wrapping a couple of the heavier load bearing pipes with a bit of fiberglass+resin would've gone a long way to save them headaches in the field. I don't know if they've already improved it by now. I watched the preview episodes and it rather bored me, so I haven't seen it since.

Re:Improved metal detector array (1)

DrPeper (249585) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618094)

Actually we've already discussed fabricating a fiberglass/resin boom arm for the truck. I'm just in concept design at the moment.

Magnet-on-a-stick (1)

hotdoghead (1577461) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617668)

Cheap, effective for finding ferrous meteorites. We use magnets from old hard drives. Good place to look is the average winter windward shore of a large dry lake bed, where small meteorites tend to get concentrated. Look for signs of eolian erosion. Poke around until something sticks. Kinda time-consuming, but we've found a couple chondrites that way. Probably doesn't make good TV, though.

People, lots of them (1)

CokeJunky (51666) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617676)

Having followed closely academically organized meteorite finds, it turns out that what you need most of all is human eyes and lots of them. Assuming you have figured out where to look already, walking a grid pattern is one of the most effective ways. I suppose a metal detector will help with some kinds of meteorites, but really, the human eye is one of the best tools for the job.

Re:People, lots of them (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619332)

I've also read that a high vantage point over a search area can help, assuming the area is uniform (dry lake bed), because it is possible to see very small ejection blankets, craters, and skids that you would not see from ground level. I'm thinking weather balloon and a camera with some sort of steadycam rig.

An African Swallow and a Coconut (1)

Gohtar (1829140) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617682)

or a European Swallow, I forget which.

Re:An African Swallow and a Coconut (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35619102)

or a European Swallow, I forget which.

You mean you don't know?!?!?
FWISH!!!

Shotgun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35617684)

Take a shotgun...

You don't have to point exactly at it to hit it.... (Think Eastwood in Unforgiven)

i would hire guys off freelancer.com for $2/hour (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617698)

to pore over high res photographs of the desert.

anyone who finds a meterotie gets a $500 bonus.

a helmet!!! (1)

georgesdev (1987622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617750)

what else?

Heckler & Koch MP5 (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617766)

Hit 'em hard, hit 'em fast.

Damn meteorites. Oh, and it helps to go out in your backyard and scream, "You think, you bad mutha fucka! You think you bad?"

It will definitely impress the neighbors.

Really? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617796)

All the meteor hunters I've seen used an off-the-shelf metal detector. Of course, that only works for the vast majority of meteorites which are iron/nickel.

equipment list (1)

sakura the mc (795726) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617800)

-cheap metal detector
-long stick with rare earth magnets taped to the end
-enough water for the day

-optional-
revolver with snakeshot

Magnetometer and GPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35617802)

Consider plotting an "isobar" map (contour map) of something in the area, such as magnetic field variations or ground conductivity.

The resulting contours will often indicate the presence and location of anomalies. This method (plotting ground conductivity and connecting the measurements to make a contour map) was used to find lost oil well holes which were seeping oil into the groundwater.

Re:Magnetometer and GPS (1)

burisch_research (1095299) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618032)

This: fly UAV patterns in a grid over target area, plotting results into a map. Investigate anomalies.

Whichin Stick. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35617856)

That thing they use in Jurassic park...

Why don't you go somewhere white.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35617926)

like Alaska or Siberia, and just look for black objects..?

Re:Why don't you go somewhere white.... (1)

EkriirkE (1075937) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618408)

Because fresh impacts are not smoldering and made of charred cotton candy.

Quantum Resonance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35617946)

You check out the H3 Device at h3tec.com; this is the real deal.

http://h3tec.com/

Ask the experts. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35617986)

You would get much better answers by joining the meteorite mailing list, which is read by plenty of experienced meteorites, including Steve Arnold and Geoff Notkin. Go to: http://www.meteoritecentral.com/

Google Earth (2)

femtobyte (710429) | more than 3 years ago | (#35617992)

An image processing computer farm and Google Earth.

Several large impact craters have been identified nearly by accident just by people looking at satellite data. With some work on image processing algorithms, there are likely oodles of ~10 meter sized crater remnants to be found scattered around the middles of nowhere, which nobody has noticed over the past few centuries since formation.

Feet? (2)

RonR (923061) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618000)

I stubbed my toe on a pretty good sized (± 10 lb) meteorite hiking around in the desert in the early '60's. It ended up in the University of Arizona collections.

Gadget (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618010)

What Gadgets Would You Use For Hunting Meteorites?

A shotgun.

Be vewy vewy quiet, I'm hunting meteowites.

A ticket to NYC's Museum of Natural History (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35618102)

Head to the Arthur Ross Hall of Meteorites, and I guarantee you'll find some.

New meteorites or old? (1)

mveloso (325617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618108)

If it just fell from the sky, get some kind of infrared detector. It'll be hotter than ambient for a while.

Re:New meteorites or old? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35619748)

Actually the problem is that by the time the meteorite has broken up a couple of thousand feet up and then finally made it to the ground, the fragments have cooled off down to the ambient temperature. That is why you never see the streak of light actually reach the ground.
Meteorites, and the fusion crust caused by falling through the atmosphere, are really poor at retaining heat. This is actually good since a large piece of a meteorite that fell near Lloydminster, Sask., Canada a couple years ago was actually found sitting on the top of a frozen pond. There was a small dent where it hit but it did not melt at all into the ice.

Two words... (0)

andr00oo (915001) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618122)

Two Words: Nuclear Fucking Weapons, OK?

Big magnetic truck. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35618204)

Drive around a field with a honda generator, some big capacitors, and an elongated superconductive magnet on the bottom of your vehicle in front of your tires. Place a strong nonconductive board or something behind the magnet as it appears on the vehicle, and wait for the meteorite to be pulled out of the ground by your magnet. When your vehicle slows down, perhaps the magnet has pulled something out of the ground and it's now scraping against your nonconductive board?

Just an idea

PS: Use a ford

Micrometeorites are easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35618272)

Back in junior high and high school, I put several powerful magnets on the undercarriage of a simple, simple cart I designed, which could be pulled by string. I put a flexible piece of plastic across them, and set the wheels to hold the magnets about two centimeters above the ground. I towed this contraption across the bottom of several local swimming pools in the off-season, prior to, immediately after, and two weeks after the Leonid meteor shower. The microanalysis lab at a nearby university yielded promising results...

That said, micrometeorites are hardly TV material.

Backyard collection... (5, Interesting)

rgbatduke (1231380) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618282)

The easiest possible way to collect meteorites is to place a large, flat pan out on your back deck (or a large funnel with a fine screen like those they sell at breweries). Leave it out to collect rainwater. After a few heavy rains, you will notice that there is a small amount of fine grit in the filter or in the bottom of the pan. Carefully drain the water out of it and let it dry the rest of the way. Dump it out on a sheet of white paper, and go over the grit with a powerful magnet (like the ones that come inside old hard disk drives) wrapped in a plastic bag.

Usually about 1/3 to 1/2 of the grit will be attracted to the magnet. It is made up of fragments of small nickel-iron meteorites of the sort that constantly rain in upon the Earth every day and that are one of many things that nucleate rainwater drops. A lot of the remaining grit is probably meteor dust as well, but stony meteor dust, and since some fraction of it is just plain old dust blown up from the ground, it is difficult to differentiate. But chunks of iron falling from the sky are probably meteor material.

This is actually a fairly entertaining thing to do. You can look at the chunks you collect at maybe 10-30 power under a microscope, and see that they often do look melted and fused like their larger cousins. If you run a trap for a while and pull out the ferrous micrometeorites regularly, you can actually build up a small vial full of the stuff. My kids each did this as elementary science fair projects when they reached the right age, and it was always one of the most popular of displays.

Finding larger meteorites isn't terribly difficult either as they constantly fall as well, but identifying them is more difficult. A rock, after all, looks a lot like a rock. Stony meteorites may not look like the right kind of rock for some location, but a non-expert isn't going to see the difference easily. Iron meteorites again are the easiest ones to identify if not find -- unless you live near an iron mine, an isolated chunk of iron-rich rock has a decent chance of being a meteorite. For these, good metal detectors can help.

Some places make it easier to find meteorites than others. If you wander around in the middle of a big, arid, flat, desert, meteor craters sometimes stand out, unweathered, or stray rocks out on the surface turn out to be meteorites. Plowed fields and so on again let you look over a large surface area in a relatively short time, but even so it is a crap shoot. The only decent sized meteorite I've found I found without a metal detector -- it was a heavy, iron-rich rock out of place in the middle of a field. But anybody can find the micro-kind, right in their own back yard!

As for equipment -- the same hard-disk drive magnet that you use to pull out the micrometeorites, securely attached to the end of your walking stick, is a great way to find them. If you're walking through a field (again in some part of the country not known for having native iron deposits) and your walking stick happens to pick up a chunk of possibly fused-looking rock, well, there you are!

rgb

Re:Backyard collection... (1)

pruss (246395) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619446)

I wrapped a fridge magnet earlier today in plastic wrap and ran it through the dirt near a downspout. Got one promising piece: shiny with rounded edges and the sort of texture one associates with a micrometeorite. Size: a little thicker than a hair, and about four times as long as wide.

Use your eyes + location location location (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35618336)

"I've already thought of using a UAV with a radio gradiometer, or attaching a coil to a quadrocopter, blimp, or terrestrial robot."

Nope. *Maybe* a metal detector might be useful, but that will only find the iron-nickel meteorites. For the stony ones it would be useless.

By far the best way to hunt for meteorites is: A) go to the right location, B) know what to look for, and C) use your eyes.

The best places to prospect (i.e. step A) are desert areas with little vegetation and with little or no active sediment deposition on the surface to cover up any meteorites that fall. Essentially you're looking for a surface where not much sediment accumulation has happened for a long time. Desert pavement [wikipedia.org] areas that are experience deflation (wind-caused net erosion) are particularly good places to hunt, because they will tend to concentrate pebbles and boulders and are experiencing erosion. Another good place to hunt is dry lake beds, which are far from source areas of rocks and generally consist of fine-grained sediment. It helps to pick locations that have distinctive indigenous rock types that will make the meteorites stand out (e.g., say, light-colored granites or other light-colored rocks or sediment). For what to look for (B), most meteorites when fresh have a black fusion crust. This is another reason to pick desert areas, because the meteorites will weather more slowly and be more likely to maintain their distinctive features. For stony meteorites the fusion crust will often break off revealing the crystalline rock inside [wikipedia.org] . For iron nickel, well, the density is a big giveaway, or if they've been weathered you'll see the rust. They often have a scalloped appearance on the surface due to melting. this picture [wikipedia.org] shows how obvious meteorites can be in the right conditions. And that's the real trick to finding them: finding a location where they will stand out from the far more numerous terrestrial rocks. After that, you just need to be observant (C), and systematically scan the area. Ideally, of course, you go to an area with an observed fall.

The only "gadget" I'd take with me (other than normal back-packing gear) is a GPS to mark the locations where you find specimens, or maybe binoculars. While instrumentation seems like an obvious application to the problem, it would probably pick up far too many false positives to be useful, and miss too many good candidates.

Re:Use your eyes + location location location (1)

mkosmul (673296) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618482)

Nope. *Maybe* a metal detector might be useful, but that will only find the iron-nickel meteorites. For the stony ones it would be useless.

As a matter of fact, metal detectors are used for finding stony meteorites as well. Apart from a few rare types, stony meteorites contain enough metal to be detected by a properly tuned metal detector. The trick, however, lies in choosing the right model for the meteorite type and terrain and tuning it properly. And you also have to know how to use it in order to fully utilize its potential (it's harder than it seems). This is absolutely non-obvious and you will have experienced meteorite hunters argue over which is best and everyone has their own set of favorite settings and tricks. In areas close to civilization, you will run into lots of metal garbage buried in the ground and it takes experience to filter out some signals right away and perseverance to dig and try other ones and fail many times before you find anything interesting. Deserts are much better as they have less junk but may host snakes and other unexpected stuff. Still, the rewards are... rewarding. A meteorite collector myself, best advice I can give you is to stick to someone who knows the topic well and learn from them. Look, ask questions, and try using the gear they suggest to you, as practical experience is crucial. Happy hunting!

Michal

Us Government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35618382)

I would hack the mass media and put word out that saddam hussein managed to stash some 'weapons of mass destruction' deep within the meteor. Let Obama and NASA do the rest...

Re:Let Obama (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35618440)

Obama commands the French military.

Ok, a serious answer (4, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618390)

First off, you want access to Google Earth and survey the terrain for any vegetation bands that indicate a subsurface anomaly. If the crater is too small for Google Earth's resolution, then use a weather balloon and a camera. If there's no vegetation, or it's too thin to show anomalies up, try a camera that can see into the infrared and take the picture at dusk. The difference in subsurface features will produce a difference in heat output.

That tells you where a crater is and which direction it is facing, therefore it will tell you which direction the ellipse for the strewn field will need to point.

A magnetometer is probably a better bet than GPR (which they've tried in the past without much luck). Combine it with a resistivity meter [archaeologywordsmith.com] . Meteorites all contain iron AND nickel (and other trace elements). By knowing the resistivity, you can distinguish a meteorite from any other type of iron. Depending on the age of the impact and climate, you may also be able to detect debris from how it has altered soil chemistry via this method.

For the magnetometer, you want a proton magnetometer [gerf.org] /gradiometer, as that's the most sensitive. The link is to a site on how to build one.

They have the world's largest metal detector, but you should be able to make one larger. Furthermore, it's a loop so it is detecting metal above the detector as well as in the ground. What you ACTUALLY want is for the detector to only look at the ground. A suitable reflector should not only achieve this but double the sensitivity at the same time.

Half a solution. (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618418)

Without an accurate method of determining the position of your UAV/blimp/whatever you're not going to be producing maps of any accuracy. (And consumer grade GPS isn't going to cut it.) Not to mention, you don't mention the sensitivity of your mapping instrument, etc... etc...

Google maps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35618474)

Other than that; not my cup of tea. =)

Outside the box (2)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618492)

Get a truffle hunting pig and beam it with vast amounts of gamma radiation.

That should transform it into a meteorite hunting pig.

Um, or Hulk Pig.

Wait. I better go check my notes.

DON'T DO ANYTHING UNTIL I GET BACK!

Depends what meteorites... (1)

Rollgunner (630808) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618580)

Hooking Clark Kent up to an EKG would be effective for *some* meteorites.

Metal Detectors (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618628)

Among those of us who have seriously used metal detectors to make money it is known that there is no one best detector for every environment. Simply having several different high end detectors at hand from various builders can enable much more successful searches. It is shocking how much that can be found by an experienced metal detector user. By experienced I mean experienced in a specific terrain as a full time hunter for at least five years and in snow states even five years is not sufficient to gain experience as winter shuts down hunting quite a bit. It makes little difference in what type of find that you seek. The right person, invested in the correct gear, with experience and a great deal of persistence can come up with astounding results.

A dog (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618736)

Train one to sniff out meteorites. Don't forget the bag of doggie treats for rewards.

Fastest way .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35618748)

A huge sheet of paper and about a ton of iron filings.

Difficult to do. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618750)

If you attempt to do meaningful surveys with electronic instruments from the air, you need to keep your altitude very steady, or your results will be meaningless.

An absolute minimum alternative would be real-time altitude data alongside any other data you gather, so you can compute altitude corrections to your data afterward.

Either approach comes with some difficulty.

Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35618796)

I'd go get some Pentax film cameras, wide angle lenses, and some super slow film that you can set to capture some and all of the night.
One camera might take a single exposure showing the whole night.
Another camera might take one exposure for 2 hours, every 2 hours.
Another camera might split the night into 4 hour segments.

And capture for days. weeks. months...

Study and report.

A dog (1)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619044)

Tell those guys they should try a hound. Seriously. Just train it using known recent fallen rocks. It will figure out a common smell and learn from that. Make sure you honor private property signs in Texas. That's my only other tip.

Iridium-sniffing Hog(s) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35619050)

Just like they use to find truffles. I mean, hounds are good, but hogs are better. And smarter. Just take more time and attention to train. For run-of-the-mill cancers, though, I'd say hounds. Unless you're looking for bioactive meteorites, in which case it'd be better to have at least one of each.

The hogs, or dogs, can be trained.in the usual manner - by playing hide-and-seek with meteorite samples and rewarding the right behavior. Be patient. Be kind. Be supportive. For recently-fallen meteorites, you might want to pre-heat the toys, or wrap them in electric blankets before hiding them.

Warthogs could also be trained to dig it up for you. Saving you even more effort. Finicky beasts, though.

Birds-of-prey with exceptional eyesigfht would be good, but are better in the ultraviolet than in the infrared. Reptiles are better for that. And some have really keen senses of smell-taste. Training them is iffy, though (except for "iguas"). If iridium fluoresces in the ultraviolet, then birds might have a handle on it. Even if its buried, might show up in the vegetation above, after a while. Ditto for downstream and downwind, perhaps.

Analysing the vegetation and wildlife - and mapping the results - might give you some clues. Preferr deep-rooted species, burrowers, and their predators. Maybe you won't have to kill them, just analyse their droppings.

Sounds like a fun life's project.

Two pickup trucks (1)

formfeed (703859) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619842)

You set up one of the pickup trucks and wait for a sufficient amount of time t for a meteorite to hit the back of the truck. If no meteorite hits the pickup truck in the alloted time frame, increase either t or the size of the pickup truck.

The second truck is to replace your other pickup that got hit by a meteorite.

Polar Bear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35619890)

Bring a polar bear. They are always on the lookout for sky iron.

I'd keep it simple: (1)

alfs boner (963844) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619934)

A sawed-off shotgun and machete.

finding space rocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35619954)

look at the end of a moving ice glacier in the rock dropped out of the ice. Every thing that falls on the ice sheet over a long time will be dumped there.

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