Drones to Help Fend Off Asteroid Danger?


Autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developer UVIONIX Aerospace has joined the SETI Institute, technology company NVIDIA and software developer Autodesk in creating new approaches to investigate the potential threat of asteroids.

The company says it has agreed to provide an adaptable drone platform and technical knowledge as part of the NASA Frontier Development Lab (FDL) experience, a project hosted at the SETI Institute.

The FDL is bringing together individuals in planetary science, data analytics and deep learning to aid in asteroid defense, and UVIONIX says it has provided a customized vehicle developed to support the FDL workshop projects.

Researchers believe that using advanced UAV technology could speed up the process of finding, retrieving and analyzing asteroid fragments reaching the ground, the company adds.

“From the eight or so large meteorite falls recovered around the world annually, only a few are tracked coming in. Using drones may help recover the smaller falls that are tracked in our camera networks,” says Peter Jenniskens, core mentor at the FDL and SETI Institute meteor astronomer.

“Increasing the number of tracked falls will point us to where in the asteroid belt meteorites of different type originate,” he adds.

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