Iron Meteorite Imaging System – Cal State LA


California State University Los Angeles


Iron Class (2018 – 2019)

Student Team

Edwin Ho, Mechanical Engineering
Xiaodong Huang, Electrical Engineering
Joseph Misch, Electrical Engineering
Gracia Sestoso, Mechanical Engineering

Scientific & Technical Guidance

Dr. Laurence Garvie, Research Professor, ASU Center for Meteorite Studies
Dr. Tim McCoy, Curator-in-Charge, US National Meteorite Collection, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Dr. Ofelia Quintero, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Academic Guidance

Tim Nye, Director, Cal State LA Capstone Senior Design Program
Michael Thorburn, Associate Director, Cal State LA Capstone Senior Design Program

Project Description

To prepare for scientific investigations at Psyche, meteorite experts from ASU and the Smithsonian Institution are seeking an imaging system to help determine the bulk chemical compositions of iron meteorites from their optical images. Meteorite experts use their knowledge to recognize the inclusions in meteorites based primarily on color, texture, and reflectivity. A major challenge of this project is to translate this human knowledge to an automated recognition system the can replicate the human expertise. To work towards this goal, the team designed and built a prototype imaging system to image meteorite samples so that each image has the exact same lighting and image quality.

A photo of the Cal State LA Imaging System Team.


A CAD rendering of the imaging structure.


A meteorite sample.


Another meteorite sample.

This work was created in partial fulfillment of California State University – Los Angeles ECST Capstone Courses “EE 4961-4962”. The work is a result of the Psyche Student Collaborations component of NASA’s Psyche Mission ( “Psyche: A Journey to a Metal World” [Contract number NNM16AA09C] is part of the NASA Discovery Program mission to solar system targets. Trade names and trademarks of ASU and NASA are used in this work for identification only. Their usage does not constitute an official endorsement, either expressed or implied, by Arizona State University or National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of ASU or NASA.