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Apollo 15 contamination photographyThe problem of optical contamination in the form of particulates in the vicinity of a spacecraft has been a source of concern for any astronomical experiment that must be performed in sunlight. This concern prompted a photographic photometric experiment on Apollo 15 to measure the brightness of the residual contamination cloud as well as the cloud produced by dumping waste water overboard. An upper limit of 10 to the minus 12.3 power B (B designates the brightness of the solar disc) was placed on the residual cloud at a 90 deg sun angle, which is comparable to the zodiacal light. The brightness of the cloud produced by the waste dump was estimated to be 10 to the minus 9.2 power B. It was observed to decrease rapidly to 10 to the -11.6 power B in minutes, then fluctuate in brightness for at least 25 minutes as additional material left the spacecraft. The cloud was observed to consist of individually resolved particle tracks estimated to be particles ranging from millimeters to centimeters in diameter in addition to a background of unresolved particles with an average diameter of 10.5 microns. Most of the tracks proceeded in straight-line paths from the dump nozzle. Several tracks violated this direction, apparently having been scattered by collisions. A few tracks appeared to have definite curvatures, which are believed to be caused by charged particle interactions.
Document ID
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Naumann, R. J. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
September 2, 2013
Publication Date
July 5, 1972
Subject Category
Report/Patent Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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NameType 19720022189.pdf STI