PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) — Robert Ward dresses like a cowboy, but he’s often referred to as a “space cowboy.” Neatly displayed in well-lit glass cases at his Prescott home are the meteorites that he has found, bartered for or purchased throughout the world.
Ward made the most recent additions to his collection this month, when a meteorite was widely witnessed as it fell from the sky in Michigan, The Daily Courier reported .
Using seismic data, witness reports, and imaging from the Doppler Weather Radar, Ward and other meteorite hunters were able to pinpoint where some of those meteor fragments had landed: a frozen lake bed near Detroit.
Within 15 minutes of reaching the lake, Ward found the first of the three meteorites he collected during that trip.
Mike Hankey, operations manager for the American Meteor Society, is working to establish an all-sky monitoring network, using a six-camera system he developed.
“We essentially want 500 of them to go across the entire country, so that wherever a fireball falls, we’ll know exactly where it is, how big it was, how fast it was going, with no uncertainty,” Hankey said.
Ward has worked closely with Hankey on the camera project and eagerly agreed to have the first of the new camera systems installed last July next to his home. Several other cameras have since been installed throughout the U.S. including two that went active last weekend in Tucson and Florence.
For Ward, the camera system creates opportunities for even greater success in hunting meteorites.
“Just in the past few years, we’ve really nailed this down to a science,” Ward said. “But getting a nationwide camera network up is the final step in really dialing things in to be as exact of a science as it can be.”