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The Museum für Naturkunde Berlin and the Freie Universität Berlin are launching a participatory project for research on micrometeorites. Berlin citizens are invited to help search for the extraterrestrial particles and can apply until July 14, 2019. The project will start on July, 30, 2019.

Micrometeorites are tiny, most of them measuring 0.2 to 0.3 millimetres. Every day, several tons of these cosmic dust particles fall onto Earth – including the roofs of Berlin. Researchers from the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin and Freie Universität Berlin want to collect the microscopically small micrometeorites and seek the active support of Berlin citizens. The Citizen Science project “Micrometeorites - The Cosmic Treasure of Berlin Roofs” will test the experimental cooperation.

Ten volunteers can take part in the first campaign on 30 July 2019. After a brief introduction, participants will use stereomicroscopes to look for possible micrometeorites in collected samples. The supervising team will support the volunteers and examine their finds using an electron microscope.

“We are counting on the support because the search is quite challenging,” said Lutz Hecht, project manager at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin. The researcher cannot guarantee success, but all participants will receive a certificate for their participation in the project and – if the search is successful – a picture of the micrometeorites they have discovered.

In initial tests, the research team found more than 60 micrometeorites. “The search is rewarding,” said Hecht. The yield is to be the basis for further scientific investigations into the flux of cosmic material onto Earth.

Registration:

Please register by sending an e-mail with the subject: “Teilnahme am 30. Juli” to: Mikrometeorite@mfn.berlin

Please provide your full name and postcode of your home address. You are welcome to tell us about your motivation for the project. Schoolchildren accompanied by a legal guardian can also participate.

The project work will be documented photographically for public relations (web pages or press releases). We ask for your consent to the use of photographs in which the participants are recognizable. It must be confirmed on the day of the participation by signature or the signatures of both legal guardians.

All data that you provide by registering will be used without your formal consent and exclusively for the purposes of organising the participation campaign. We will not pass them on to third parties.

Selection of participants:

The deadline for registration is 14 July 2019 at 8 pm. Preference will be given to the first registrations, taking into account that citizens from as many districts of Berlin as possible can participate. Three days after the end of the registration period, participants will receive an invitation by e-mail.

Important note:

Please note that collections on Berlin roofs require approval. We strongly advise against collecting samples without adequate security precautions for the risks of personal harm and destruction of scientifically interesting samples.