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France creates a meteor-tracking camera network

FRIPON aims to collect at least one shooting star a year.
Reuters/Dado Ruvic
Reuters/Dado Ruvic
Jon Fingas
Jon Fingas|@jonfingas|June 14, 2016 6:15 AM

It's difficult to track where meteors go when showers are both relatively common and rain down loads of space rocks. However, France thinks it has the answer. It recently launched FRIPON, a meteor detection network. The system uses a country-wide camera system (currently 68, scaling up to 100) to track where meteors fly -- if two or more cameras spot something, scientists get an alert. Eventually, that camera data will help narrow down likely impact areas (as small as 1 kilometer, or 0.6 miles) and send thousands of volunteers out to recover meteorites.

This could dramatically increase the number of meteorites found in France. Ideally, it'll find a meteorite every year -- no mean feat when an equivalent Spanish network only found two of them in 12 years. However, FRIPON's linked cameras and small army of searchers might be just enough to give it an edge.

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France creates a meteor-tracking camera network