Couldn't find element LayerAd

Error finding content

Meteor Shower May Cause Problem with Spacecraft - Windows to the Universe

Shop Windows to the Universe

Check out the fun Earth science related bumper stickers in our online store! Express yourself!
Many science teams, such as the ACE project pictured here, are repositioning satellites so they won't be damaged in the meteor shower.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy of NASA

Meteor Shower May Cause Problem with Spacecraft
News story originally written on November 15, 1998

The Leonids meteor shower is expected to peak on November 17th, 1998. The meteors may cause problems with many different satellites in orbit. The meteors could break the outside skin of the satellites or cause problems with sensitive electronics.

Only a small fraction of the meteors are big enough to break through the skin of a satellite. The chances of this type of problem are very small.

The biggest threat are ionized particles created by very small meteors colliding with a satellite. Even though the meteors can't damage a satellite's hull, they can create an electric field that can damage sensitive electronics inside the satellite.

Some projects such as the Advanced Composition Explorer will power-down the instruments on their satellites. Scientists believe that this will prevent the meteors from doing any damage. The satellites may also be reoriented to shield sensitive equipment or to present the smallest profile toward the meteors.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes books on science education, ranging from evolution, classroom research, and the need for science and math literacy!

Windows to the Universe Community



You might also be interested in:

Cool It! Game

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

1999--A Year in Review...

It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more

STS-95 Launch: "Let the wings of Discovery lift us on to the future."

The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit. This was the United States' 123rd...more

Moon Found Orbiting Asteroid

A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more

U.S. is Fed Up with Russia

Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials want an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting to be...more

More on Recent Coronal Mass Ejection

A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun early last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. The SWICS instrument on ACE has produced a new and very...more

Mother Nature's Air Conditioning

J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service called forests the "heart and lungs of the world." This is because forests filter air and water pollution, absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, and maintain...more

Planetary Alignment 2002

In late April through mid-May 2002, all five naked-eye planets are visible at the same time in the night sky! This is includes Mercury which is generally very hard to see. You won't want to miss this!...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF