Friday, July 28, 2017
NASA spacecraft struck by meteoroid while photographing the Moon

NASA spacecraft struck by meteoroid while photographing the Moon

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The collision of a meteoroid with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s Narrow Angle Camera resulted in this wavy image.

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University

A camera on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter survived a direct hit from a meteoroid no larger than the pin of a head that was traveling at incredibly high speeds. Despite its small size, tiny meteoroids can inflict significant damage on space equipment, especially instruments as delicate as a camera.

According to NASA project scientist Mark Robinson, ‘In this case, (the camera) did not dodge a speeding, but rather survived a speeding bullet.’

The incident actually occurred in late 2014, but was not made public until recently. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has been mapping the moon’s poles ever since its launch in 2009. And its cameras – manufactured by a small company called Malin – are known for being particularly tough. In fact, Malin cameras are also used on the Mars Curiosity rover.



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