Listen to the meteors

Description and conclusions of the METRO project

METRO is the acronym for MEteors TRajectories and Origins. It was a BRAIN-be networking project funded by the Belgian Scientific Policy. It was an inter-disciplinary project with a collaboration between the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BISA), the Von Karman Institute (VKI) and the Institut de Mécanique Céleste et de Calculs des Ephémérides (IMCCE). The duration of the project was of 4 years, between 2015 and 2018.

Context: Meteoroids enter the Earth's atmosphere constantly. They represent a hazard for spacecraft in orbit and are of great interest for the hypersonic re-entry of objects.

Objectives: Since 2010, BIRA-IASB has developed a unique network of radio receiving stations, BRAMS, for forward scatter radio observations of meteoroids. VKI has experience with modelling spacecraft re-entry and is extending this expertise to the entry of meteoroids. The objectives are to combine the expertise to 1) develop the tools to analyse the data from the BRAMS network, 2) to develop models to simulate the hypersonic entry of meteoroids, and 3) to combine data and models to better understand the meteor phenomenon and to estimate meteoroid trajectories and initial masses.

Conclusions: During this project the BRAMS network has been expanded and upgraded. Many tools to analyse BRAMS data were created. VKI developed models for the entry of small meteoroids (at high altitudes, so mostly kinetic models) and larger ones (going deeper into the atmosphere, so mostly fluid models). The methods to retrieve the trajectories of meteoroids from BRAMS data only have not yet reached a sufficient maturity to combine with the outputs from the VKI modelling. However, some interesting results have been obtained.

You can find the final report here