Skip to the content

This internet browser is outdated and does not support all features of this site. Please switch or upgrade to a different browser to display this site properly.


Scholarship details

2024 RTP round - Earth Attack-the rate of impact on Earth and other planets

Status: Closed

Applications open: 7/07/2023
Applications close: 25/08/2023

View printable version [.pdf]

About this scholarship

Whether looking for meteorite or tracking satellites, the Desert Fireball Network continuously scans large areas of the night sky, searching for meteorite-dropping fireballs. 

But how much material is bombarding the Earth on a daily basis? The global data are well constrained for large (>10s m sized) objects, as well as the small, dusty material, but the cm-m size range is poorly known. The DFN dataset contains the largest and most complete record of the number, sizes, and orbits of material hitting our planet.  

This project will use the DFN’s orbital database to answer the fundamental question: how often do we get impacted, and by what sizes? 

This will place a critical constraint on the impact hazard (there is still an order-of magnitude variation in estimates of Tunguska-class impactors). These data can also be used to model the flux of material into the inner solar system in general. How much material might be expected on the Moon, or even Mars? 

Project aims:

To use the Desert Fireball Network dataset of over 3 Petabytes of imagery to determine the impact rate of metre sized (and larger) impactors on Earth. 

Project objectives are: 

  • Use a suite of observational data to determine the masses of incoming objects. 
  • Determine the flux of incoming objects, taking into account observational biases.

Surprisingly, we have a poor understanding of the impact rate in the larger, cm–10m size range of impactors on Earth. These bodies are still too small for telescopes to spot easily in near Earth space, and yet are still able to cause significant damages and casualties. The result of this project will have significant implications for space situational awareness studies and planetary defence. 

This project may provide internship opportunities with SSTCs industry and defence partners

  • Future Students
  • Faculty of Science & Engineering
    • Engineering courses
  • Higher Degree by Research
  • International Student
  • Merit Based

The annual scholarship package (stipend and tuition fees) is approx. $60,000 - $70,000 p.a.

Successful HDR applicants for admission will receive a 100% fee offset for up to 4 years, stipend scholarships at the 2023 RTP rate valued at $32,250 p.a. for up to a maximum of 3 years, with a possible 6-month completion scholarship. Applicants are determined via a competitive selection process and will be notified of the scholarship outcome in November 2023. 

For detailed information, visit: Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarships | Curtin University, Perth, Australia.

Scholarship Details


All applicable HDR courses

We are looking for a self-motivated PhD candidate with excellent computation, problem-solving and project management skills. Candidates with strong quantitative skills, including familiarity with python coding or working with large datasets are desired for this project, but not required. 

Application process

If this project excites you, and your research skills and experience are a good fit for this specific project, you should contact the Project Lead (listed below in the enquires This project has identified a preferred candidate and is no longer available.  Please review remaining scholarships projects.

Enrolment Requirements

Eligible to enrol in a Higher Degree by Research Course at Curtin University by March 2024.

Recipients must complete their milestone 1 within 6 months of enrolment and remain enrolled on a full-time basis for the duration of the scholarship.


The Project lead has identified a preferred candidate and is no longer accepting applications. Please click here to review remaining scholarships projects.

Scholarships Email Alert