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Survey of probable micrometer-sized Earth-orbital debris fragments in the NASA-JSC cosmic dust sample collectionA program to collect extraterrestrial dust samples from the stratosphere using impactors mounted on NASA U-2 and WB-57F aircraft is discussed. Sample collection, preparation, and analysis techniques are described and the particle types found are reviewed. Preliminary examination of the particles indicates that they represent not only extraterrestrial material, but some fraction of terrestrial contamination from both natural and manmade sources. This examination involves a combination of optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and qualitative bulk elemental analysis using an energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometer (EDS) to characterize each particle. The cosmic dust collection contains samples of at least three classes of material that may present some hazard to extended spacecraft operations in near-Earth orbit: (1) micrometeorites/cosmic dust, (2) aluminum oxide spheres, and (3) alloy spherules and fragments.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Conference Paper
Clanton, U. S.
(NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Gooding, J. L.
(NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 12, 2013
Publication Date
March 1, 1985
Publication Information
Publication: Orbital Debris
Subject Category
Astronautics (General)
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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