March 1, 2011: Every day about 100 tons of meteoroids -- fragments of dust and gravel and sometimes even big rocks – enter the Earth's atmosphere. Stand out under the stars for more than a half an hour on a clear night and you'll likely see a few of the meteors produced by the onslaught. But where does all this stuff come from? Surprisingly, the answer is not well known.
Now NASA is deploying a network of smart cameras across the United States to answer the question, What's Hitting Earth?
Did that meteor you saw blazing through the sky last night come from the asteroid belt? Was it created in a comet's death throes? Or was it a piece of space junk meeting a fiery demise?
"When I get to work each morning and power up my computer, there's an email waiting with answers," says William Cooke, head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. "And I don't have to lift a finger, except to click my mouse button."
This is cool.