Visualizing Meteorites

From the 7,000 ton meteorite that fell in Chelyabinsk to the current debate on the “Mercury meteorite”, meteorites have recently made headlines. Russia announced $50 billion in new space spending, and despite cuts, NASA’s recently released budget outlines a plan to tow an asteroid closer to Earth for study. The need to understand more about our solar system is clear, and meteorites (and other objects from space) provide a valuable opportunity to do so.
The Meteoritical Society has a massive database of all the recorded meteorites that have collided with Earth dating as far back as 2500 BCE, providing the most comprehensive public picture of known meteorite collisions. Your challenge is to use data and design to visualize meteorites — help us understand more by exploring its type, mass or location. Using the Meteoritical Society’s database, we’ve seen visualizations by The Guardian and Javier de la Torre that map meteorite landings but we’re looking to go beyond that. What else can this data set tell us? What have meteorite collisions looked like over time? Are there any patterns or parts of the world that are more likely to be hit? Was the Chelyabinsk meteorite collision normal or an anomaly? Feel free to use additional data sets that can contribute deeper insight. 
For this challenge, we’re excited to partner with FreeStructure, a three-day gathering happening this July in San Francisco that will bring together industry professionals and experts to explore ways to maximize data’s potential. As part of the prize, we’re offering the winner one pass and….we’ll also be at FreeStructure for a Visualizing/FreeStructure Marathon. We look forward to meeting you!   


Primary Data Set: Meteorite Landings (Source: The Meteoritical Society) 

**UPDATE: New data set provided on 5/14/13 includes more recent meteorite data. Participants can use either data set provided. 

And we encourage you to use additional data sets (as long as they’re open)!  


The winning designer(s) will receive passes to FreeStructure taking place July 16-18, 2013 in San Francisco, CA. The winner(s) will also receive a $3000 prize. 
An Honorable Mention designer will receive entry to FreeStructure. 

**UPDATE: FreeStructure has been postponed. Please visit for more details. 


Visualizations will be judged on the following criteria:

Understanding (10 Points): How effectively does the visualization communicate? How well does it help you make sense of this issue? 
Originality (5 Points): Are the approach and design innovative?
Style (5 Points): Is the visualization aesthetically compelling? 


The winning visualization: Macrometeorites by Roxana Torre 

Read the recap to see the runners up and Honorable Mentions and see all of the entries.


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