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Micrometeoroids and Space Debris

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Asteroid Ida and its moon



Grade Levels

Grades 5-8, Grades 9-12


Physical Science, Forces and Motion, Microgravity, Physics


Lesson Plans / Activities, Other Multimedia

A meteoroid is usually a fragment of an asteroid. It can be very large, or it can be very small. A micrometeoroid is a particle smaller than a grain of sand. Every day, Earth’s atmosphere is struck by millions of meteoroids and micrometeoroids. Most never reach Earth’s surface because they are vaporized by the intense heat generated by the friction of passing through the atmosphere. In space, no blanket of atmosphere protects a spacecraft or a spacewalker. This Exploration Brief discusses ways that engineers design protection from micrometeoroids for spacecraft. Students simulate the high-speed micrometeoroid impacts with three simple activities.
Micrometeoroids and Space Debris Activity [803KB PDF file]

This document is part of the Suited for Spacewalking Educator Guide.