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  • Meteor hazards to space-stations

    Paper ID



    • Michael W Ovenden


    British interplanetary society


    United Kingdom




    The analysis of Gfimminger is summarized, and possible astronomical factors affecting its validity examined. The existence of iron meteors is shown to require a reduction in Grimminger’s collision times by a factor of about 2. Radar observations provide direct evidence for the assumed number of meteors/magnitude relationship down to magnitude 7; extrapolation beyond this limit is uncertain because of the removal of smaller meteors by the Poynting-Robertson effect. The Poynting-Robertson effect may increase Grimminger’s times by a factor of about 3, although a much more drastic increase due to this effect cannot be ruled out. The danger from meteor showers, including the daylight streams detected by radar, is shown to be comparable with that from sporadic meteors. Contrary to published statements, the discovery of micro-meteorites does not demand any alteration to the statistics. The greatest uncertainty in the estimates of collision times occurs in the imperfect knowledge of the mass of a meteor of given magnitude; errors in theory here may require, at the worst, a decrease in collision times by a factor of 50. For space station lifetimes of more than one year, it is concluded that either a heavily- armoured hull or a "meteor bumper’’ will be required.