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earth orbit space junk micrometeoroid nasa space.com

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#1 Hum

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 16:43

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have dodged a cosmic bullet ... literally.

A small piece of space junk or naturally occurring celestial debris created the tiny hole in one of the space station's wing-like solar arrays at some point in the outpost's 14-year history in orbit. Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield spotted the puncture and posted a photo of it on Twitter on Monday (April 29).

"Bullet hole — a small stone from the universe went through our solar array," Hadfield wrote, suspecting the hole was caused by a tiny space rock called a micrometeoroid. "Glad it missed the hull."

NASA experts estimate that millions of micrometeorites and bits of man-made debris orbit the Earth in the range of operational satellites and the space station. These shards of satellites, rockets and rocky debris are traveling at an average speed of 22,000 mph (35,406 km/h). The space station, for comparison, orbits the Earth at a speed of about 17,500 mph (28,164 km/h).

"The 'bullet' that created the hole in the solar array was probably due to a 1 mm to 2 mm diameter MMOD [micrometeoroids and orbital debris] impact, assuming the hole was on the order of 0.25 inches in diameter," William Jeffs, a NASA spokesperson told SPACE.com in an email. "A 2 mm size MMOD particle is expected to hit somewhere on [the International Space Station] every 6 months or so."

If the piece of space debris were to collide with the hull, the space station's shielding would probably protect the crew from being adversely impacted, Jeffs added.

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#2 Geoffrey B.

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 16:48

i saw this when he posted it, you would think they would have noticed the drop on voltage being delivered by the array, Then again, who is to say they didnt, they just do not release that sort of information.

#3 OP Hum

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 16:59

What if some astronaut was taking a space walk ...

#4 DocM

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 19:05

If it hit an astronaut and the Kevlar layers of his spacesuit dodn't break it up he'd be on a world of hurt. Those things travel at ~30 ,000 to 40,000 mph.

#5 rippleman

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 19:41

If it hit an astronaut and the Kevlar layers of his spacesuit dodn't break it up he'd be on a world of hurt. Those things travel at ~30 ,000 to 40,000 mph.

NASA experts estimate that millions of micrometeorites and bits of man-made debris orbit the Earth in the range of operational satellites and the space station. These shards of satellites, rockets and rocky debris are traveling at an average speed of 22,000 mph

#6 DocM

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 22:31

Not all the impactors are or co-orbiting orbital debris. Many are pieces of NEO's or cometary debris that travel at the speeds quoted.

#7 Praetor

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 22:41

anyways, if one of those hit a more sensitive part of the ISS, that could mean trouble. i always wonder how could the Enterprise ™ travel so fast and avoid this stuff?

#8 The Laughing Man

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 22:44

anyways, if one of those hit a more sensitive part of the ISS, that could mean trouble. i always wonder how could the Enterprise ™ travel so fast and avoid this stuff?

http://en.memory-alp...ional_deflector

#9 Growled

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 23:45

"Glad it missed the hull."


I doubt they would have been so nonchalant about it if it had.

#10 Buttus

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 00:38

andromeda strain.... just sayin



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