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.