The Research

The Desert Fireball Network

The DFN is a research project aiming to uncover the mysteries surrounding the formation of the solar system through the study of meteorites, fireballs and their pre-Earth orbits.


The project is based at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia and together with NASA, the DFN is expanding to a Global Fireball Observatory. Using an autonomous network of observatories, built from scratch with custom and consumer parts, these cameras track and triangulate fireballs, the fall positions of the meteorites and their pre-earth orbits from multiple viewpoints. Currently the DFN observatories cover a third of Australian skies, taking pictures all night, every night, and increasingly of the skies from other countries around the world. 


Recovering these meteorites help address some of the biggest questions in planetary science: how our planetary system came into being, and how dust and gas produced a planet capable of supporting life – our Earth.

Meteorites are the oldest rocks in existence: the only surviving physical record of the formation and evolution of the solar system. They sample hundreds of different objects like asteroids and comet in space. Meteorites can offer a direct route to understanding our origins, but to decode that record we need to know where they come from in the solar system. The DFN is world-first research designed to provide that context.

Meteorite Recoveries

The DFN has recovered four meteorites with highly accurate trajectory and orbital data so far. The two more recent recoveries, Murrili and Dingle Dell, were collected within a very short timeframe following the observed fall, meaning the digital progression of the network pipeline is becoming more and more effective as time progresses.


Meteorite name Fall observation date Country State, province, or region Classification Instrumentally observed – orbital data Meteoritical
Bulletin(s), other references
Bunburra Rockhole July 21, 2007 Australia South Australia Brecciated achondrite Yes [21][22][12]
Mason Gully April 13, 2010 Australia Western Australia H5 Yes [23][24][25]
Murrili November 27, 2015 Australia South Australia H5 Yes [26][19]
Dingle Dell October 31, 2016 Australia Western Australia L/LL5 Yes [27][20]