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The Origin of TektitesTektites are probably extraterrestrial, rather than the result of heating some terrestrial materials, because they are a chemically homogeneous group with definite peculiarities (high silica, excess of alkaline earths over alkalis, excess of potash over soda, absence of water), and because some of them (the australites) appear to have undergone ablation in flight through the atmosphere. Since comparatively slow heating is required to explain the liquefaction of the tektite material, it is suggested that the tektites arrived along orbits which were nearly parallel to the surface of the earth, and which resulted from the decay of the orbit of a natural satellite. The great meteor procession of February 9, 1913, is an example of such an object. Comparison with the reentry phenomena of the artificial satellite 1957 Beta suggests that the 1913 shower consisted of a single large stone weighing about 400 kilograms, and a few dozen smaller bodies weighing about 40 grams each, formed by ablation from the larger body. It is shown that under the observed conditions considerable liquid flow would be expected in the stone, which would be heated to about 2100 K. Objects falling from such a shower near the perigee point of the orbit would have a considerable distribution along the orbit as a result of slight variations in height or drag coefficient. The distribution in longitude would be made wider by the turning of the earth under the orbit during the time of fall. The ultimate source of the body which produces a tektite shower is probably the moon, which appears, by virtue of its polarization and the phase distribution of the returned light, to contain high-silica materials. It is suggested that the Igast object alleged to have fallen in 1855 is in fact genuine and represents an unmelted portion of the lunar crust.
Document ID
19980227350
Document Type
Other - NASA Technical Note (TN)
Authors
OKeefe, J. A.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
November 1, 1960
Subject Category
Astrophysics
Report/Patent Number
NASA-TN-D-490
Meeting Information
International Space Symposium(Nice)
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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