Micrometeorite dangers in space

I draw your attention to the article linked here, How Do You Shield Astronauts and Satellites from Deadly Micrometeorites?

A caveat or two: Regarding the matter of the possibility of space travel, I am currently on the fence. But the International Space Station, if real, would be in Lower Earth Orbit (LEO), and so would have atmosphere to bounce off. Are there astronauts aboard? I have my doubts, but cannot prove or disprove any of it. The whole thing could be part of the ongoing hoax started in 1957 when the USSR launched Sputnik.

So, setting aside my doubts, note the following quote from the article:

Late last month GOES-13, a weather satellite that helps the U.S. government forecast hurricanes, got smacked by a piece of supersonic space dust. A little micrometeorite, a small-but-incredibly-fast piece of space debris, says USA Today, “struck the arm of the satellite’s power-producing solar array, engineers say. The jolt knocked the satellite off balance, and spacecraft instruments automatically turned themselves off.” The orbital collision brought the satellite down for a few weeks as engineers figured out what was wrong.

Do weather satellites exist? Opinions differ. For myself, I rely on the idea that Newton was right, and that machines can be in space, just not humans. What strikes me here is the amazing force brought about by a micrometeorite. I asked someone after reading this that if space travel is not possible, how is it that everything in space, including stars, planets, entire galaxies, meteorites and micrometeorites is moving. What is propelling them?

Cosmic forces beg the question. What came before? As a Catholic school kid I was taught that one of the proofs of the existence of God was called Mover and Prime Mover, that before God, no motion, after God, motion. That too begs the question – what came before God? How did God come to be? Are we talking turtles here?

The answer I got was nonspecific, and I am not satisfied that some cosmic force brought about with the formation of the galaxy, the solar system, even the universe, propels the particles. But I am not taking it any further as I was a CPA for a living, and we are notoriously poor cosmetologists. Also, cosmologists.

I was told, however, that space satellites cannot exist, including those in geostationary orbit, because they would be pummeled by meteorites and micrometeorites, and decimated. This leads to the question: How routine are such events? Daily? Weekly? Yearly? And it also leads to the question: Where does my Internet signal come from? It is hitting a satellite dish, for sure. And over time, satellite dishes, which catch signals in a round bowl and reflect them to the center pole, have gotten much smaller. Ours is three feet.

And, we are told, that because our signal originates over 22,000 miles away, over the equator, that there is a delay which means that we cannot use our devices to do gaming. The only online gaming I do is Scrabble, so I am not affected by that. However, we did find that our landline signal, which was connected to our router, was affected by a delay and was therefore unusable.

This all suggests to me that it is evidence that there are geostationary satellites out there, and that they have long lives (years, maybe decades), so that they are somehow protected from micrometeorites, if not meteors.

I remain on the fence about everything of course, as my cosmetology is not exactly up to speed. The article linked above speaks of the Whipple Shield, described as follows:

In the 1940s, Fred Whipple proposed a meteoroid shield for spacecraft, called the Whipple shield in recognition of his contribution. The Whipple shield consists of a thin, aluminum “sacrificial” wall mounted at a distance from a rear wall. The function of the first sheet or “BUMPER” is to break up the projectile into a cloud of material containing both projectile and BUMPER debris. This cloud expands while moving across the standoff, resulting in the impactor momentum being distributed over a wide area of the rear wall (Figure 2). The back sheet must be thick enough to withstand the blast loading from the debris cloud and any solid fragments that remain.

I regard that as that as the same system that protects fans who sit behind the plate from foul balls. I wonder if geostationary satellites, which seem to be real, are protected by Whipple shields?

I leave it there, but on a related matter, I’ve been doing a lot of reading at Aulis, and in an article on the history of space suits by Scott Peterson, came across this illustration.

I added the red arrow. What this illustration seems to be saying is that a garment can stop the force of a particle traveling beyond speed of light, powerful enough to disable a weather satellite. More likely, it would kill him instantly.

One of the clues that leads me to conclude that we never have and never will land humans on the Moon is micrometeorites. NASA says they are rare, and so not a problem, but this begs the question: If they are real and deadly, isn’t it foolish to subject astronauts to that risk? It seems that in six missions and hours of moon-walking, none were struck. They just got lucky, I guess, but is that a good plan?

Anyhow, as you were. I’ve been entrenched in space matters, and will continue on that way for a while. Expect that I will have more to say, knowing me.

15 thoughts on “Micrometeorite dangers in space

  1. Hi. As for everything in space moving, they are not being propulsed, rather they started out moving and continue to do so because nothing is reducing their speed . Ie there is no friction as in the Earths atmosphere. Of course there are mass to mass gravitational forces acting on all objects which influence an objects direction, but only a collision with another object would stop it, and release its kinetic energy of motion. As happened with the micro meteorite. No mystery there. And yes these sorts of collisions are the cost of being above the atmosphere. The statistical hope is that a sufficiently large micro or otherwise meteorite doesn’t hit one’s space station or satellite etc.
    Also everything in the universe is moving, and ‘stopped’ depends only on one’s frame of reference. All this is incorporated in Newtons Laws of motion. When in motion in outer space, it is very expensive in energy to change your direction of motion. This is ignored by space movies that have fights using WWII fighter tactics.
    All this is not obvious to people living on the surface of a planet that is surrounded by gas.
    So. No problem with satellites in general, but there are others such as high energy cosmic rays and particles from the Sun and outside our solar system. Whether we could build a rocket system to take us to Mars safely is yet to be demonstrated. Our biological bodies don’t do well in a flood of cosmic radiation.
    But we probably could get to the moon and start a colony there. There would just be a cost.


    1. That’s what they tell us in the Wikipedia and other official sources anyway. The question is how much of it is real information. There have been many years endless propaganda about the manned Moon missions in science magazines, but nothing ever happened. Just last weak I noticed in the flea market a Science magazine from last Year where were many pages the same old Moon mission propaganda, just with the new artistic visions of the Moon Modules, the Moon Rovers and the Moon residences with the extra shelter from the micro meteors. I just can’t even laugh off those ridiculous articles and plans any more. And no, I really didn’t buy that magazine.


    2. “When in motion in outer space, it is very expensive in energy to change your direction of motion.”

      Why? If propulsion in space is so simple as the experts say, then just as easy to go one way as another. Just rotate your little thruster, or activate a different thruster or something. No problemo.


    3. I don’t think that the engines of the X-Fighters relies on the World War II era Nazi technology, but I’m more familiar with the cars than the space ships anyway so who knows.


  2. “Of course there are mass to mass gravitational forces acting on all objects”….Einsteins special theory of relativity is based on I believe no less than 22 postulates/ASSUMPTIONS. General relativity based on a large number of assumptions too haha.

    How do you speak with such certainty?


    1. Certainty comes from deduction. If Newton’s laws can be experienced here, why would they stop being applicable anywhere else in the Space? Are you suggesting another set of physics’ laws for each segment? How would that work and more importantly, how would it be separated and not influencing its surroundings in observable anomalous way according to our perception and experience? Until you do have some reasonable answers to above questions, I suggest you stick with the most reasonable answer – physical laws are universal regardless of your position within the Universe.


  3. The Whipple shield sounds like it wouldn’t work:
    Where is the outer shield mounted? One might say it’s mounted to the inner shield; but where is the inner shielded mounted then? They must be attached to the satellite itself in the end, right?

    If the shield is attached to the satellite, any momentum received would be transferred to the satellite, it doesn’t matter the area of impact. Therefore, it simply would have no effect.


    1. By “not working’, I’m referring to the momentum would have knocked the satellite off-course – someone would tell me that satellites have a self-correcting mechanism: that’s fine, but any mechanism that adjusts its trajectory must require compressed air, if not fuel as well, so it must eventually be depleted.
      How frequent is the occurrence of micro-debris impact? Given the amount of debris that is said to exist, I would say a lot. Now, how much air could the satellite reasonably contain? Certainly not enough to keep it in service for decades!


  4. The Whipple Shield is certainly imperfect, admitted in the linked article. But its effect is one of dispersement of particle energy, so that after having passed through it the micrometeorite has a more cloud-like effect. I am merely reading from the linked article. Of course this would affect the satellite’s momentum, but in a diminished manner. The article also states (2013) that work at that time was to develop self-healing defenses.

    It is short, worth a read. I am certainly no expert, and like I say, we are receiving a satellite signal from a machine(s) that has (have) been in place for many years. The knock on Viasat, our provider, is that their equipment is aging, and they have to continually introduce new ones. That could be damage from micrometeorites, which I think are infrequent.,


  5. This, for me, is what makes the ISS so unbelievable. They’re living in a tin can in a vacuum which, unlike with submarines or ships, have no bulkheads to seal off damaged parts, they wear slacks and a polo shirt with no protective equipment available. Even in a passenger jet there are oxygen masks that fall from the ceiling above your head in case of sudden depressurization. The whole setup of the ISS beggars belief after just a few moments of reflection.


    1. This comment is not just for You, John, so don’t take it as an personal argument against You, please. I just tell my opinion about the ISS.
      I don’t know if there are humans in the ISS, but the reason You mentioned is not a real reason in my opinion, because You could die suddenly here in the surface of the earth too and You are not protected from all if any of the dangers all the time. For example You might have an seat belt and airbags in Your car, but those do not protect You from the very fierce crash. Just like those airplane oxygen masks don’t protect You if the plane crashes to the ground. Or how about the soldiers in the (real) wars? Your helmet don’t protect You from the cannonball. Life is dangerous here or in the space.
      But if the ISS is real and inhabit with the astronauts I believe that those dwellers may not be the same people that are shown to us in the NASA shows from the “ISS”. That is just my intuition speaking when I’m watching those jolly people just hanging around the “ship” without any reasonable job to do. Sometimes they seems to go outside of the station and are pretending to wrench some kind of bolt for an hours. I watched that in the “live” show from “ISS” once from the television when sitting in the waiting room of the hotel and I haven’t nothing else to do.
      I have been interested about the space missions my whole life and while I don’t believe in manned Moon missions anymore I still believe it is possible for humans to go to the orbit of the earth. I haven’t seen really anything that proofs otherwise. I have to draw a line somewhere and that is that for me because of the amount of the people that should be involved in the space hoax, if anything is lie, is too much in my opinion. It’s quite “easy” to counterfeit a few rocket missions while perhaps doing some other tasks instead, than lie decades of the all space missions, satellites or the whole space in general. The amount of the people required to lie years and years would be many many times larger in the latter case than in the first option. In the end of the day it would feel like everybody else than You are involved in the conspiracies, everything is a lie, and You are finally the only one that knows the “truth”. That’s the reason I believe the line must be closer to the first option than the latter option.
      At the moment I believe that there might be that there are people orbiting the Earth and it might be that there were people aboard the Saturn rockets, but those were different people than those “astronauts” shown to us. The risk for the serious accidents were too high in my opinion for the famous “star” astronauts. This was not the right time for screwing up so they have to be 100% sure that at least the first “Moon” mission was “successful” IMO.
      But going few hundred miles to the edge of the atmosphere is a whole different case than going to the hundred Thousands miles trip to the Moon and back with the manned tin cans and with the 60’s engineering over the Van Allen belts to the dangerously radiating unexamined conditions with the high speed micrometeorites and all. It’s just impossible task to do with known technology and I haven’t seen any information that could change my mind.


      1. On RT news a few years ago, one reporter – I forget his name, blond with glasses – went around an exact replica of the ISS on earth in a erstwhile Soviet republic. What are the chances that the exact copy and the ‘orbiting’ ISS are one and the same?


          1. And then there is this very good YT video, which is all You need to watch to know how fake the ISS shows are IMO.

            It’s some kind of a flat Earth stuff too, but don’t care of that so much. There is no this without that. It’s still a good video. Please watch at least from the 11 minutes time from where they express how the “astronauts” heads are always turned towards the roof, even though there should not be “ups” or “downs” in the free gravity of the ISS.

            This is the must see for all whom are interested of the topic!


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