The leak was detected Wednesday night -- possibly from a micrometeorite
strike -- when it caused a small drop in cabin pressure.
Crammed aboard were a magnetometer, radiation counters, micrometeorite
detectors, and many stainless steel pennants bearing the nation's hammer-and-sickle coat of arms that were to be scattered around the impact site.
"The long duration of the Cassini mission has enabled us to use it like a micrometeorite
observatory, providing us privileged access to the contribution of dust from outside our solar system that could not have been obtained in any other way," said Altobelli.
The racks were also built to be completely movable in the event of a space event, such as if a micrometeorite
or other space debris struck the outside of the space station and comprised the structural integrity.
This texture may be the upshot of eons of micrometeorite
hits that filled the soil.
The EPB needs a tether, having sufficient conductive properties and enough strength to withstand the micrometeorite
and space debris impacts.
Blue cheese may be more accurate than green when an astronaut finally steps off into the rough, dark, opaque material left by micrometeorite
Spacewalking always carries high risk; a puncture by a micrometeorite
or sharp edge, if big enough, could result in instant death.
Interestingly, the micrometeorite
theory as a main source of the dust is growing, and research published in 2009 suggests NLCs that were observed following the Tunguska Event in 1908 are evidence that the impact was caused by a comet.
Khoshnevis and collaborators will be designing such items as lunar roads, landing pads and aprons, shade walls, dust barriers, thermal and micrometeorite
protection shields and dust-free platforms.
Flight controllers say they have no reason to believe Atlantis was damaged during lift-off by any flyaway foam insulation, but in any event, the astronauts will check the shuttle's wings and nose cap following next week's undocking for any signs of micrometeorite
damage that may have occurred in orbit.
This is supported by the age of the oldest organic sediments inside them ([sup.14]C data 3360 [+ or -] 100, 2690 [+ or -] 170 BP), as well as by the presence of meteorites and micrometeorites
. There are records of micrometeorite
protoliths of maghemite and goethite.