Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How LISA pathfinder detected dozens of 'comet crumbs'

19.11.2019

LISA Pathfinder, a mission led by ESA (the European Space Agency) that included NASA contributions, successfully demonstrated technologies needed to build a future space-based gravitational wave observatory, a tool for detecting ripples in space-time produced by, among other things, merging black holes.

A team of NASA scientists leveraged LISA Pathfinder's record-setting sensitivity for a different purpose much closer to home -- mapping microscopic dust shed by comets and asteroids.


Illustration of LISA Pathfinder

Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Most of these particles, known as micrometeroids, have masses measured in micrograms, similar to a small grain of sand.

But at speeds reaching 40,000 mph (64,000 kph), even micrometeoroids pack a punch.

The NASA team, led by Ira Thorpe at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, detected 54 impacts during the mission, which lasted from 2015 to 2017.

Modeling the strikes allowed the researchers to determine what kinds of objects shed the dust.

The findings are broadly consistent with existing ideas of what generates micrometeroids found near Earth. The dusty culprits are mostly short-period comets whose orbits are determined by Jupiter.

Comets with longer periods, like Halley's comet, also contributed dust that LISA Pathfinder sensed.

The new measurements could help refine dust models used by researchers in a variety of studies, from understanding the physics of planet formation to estimating impact risks for current and future spacecraft.

Frank Reddy | EurekAlert!
Further information:
https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2019/how-lisa-pathfinder-detected-dozens-of-comet-crumbs
http://dx.doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/ab3649

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Cherned up to the maximum
10.07.2020 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

nachricht Porous graphene ribbons doped with nitrogen for electronics and quantum computing
09.07.2020 | University of Basel

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The spin state story: Observation of the quantum spin liquid state in novel material

New insight into the spin behavior in an exotic state of matter puts us closer to next-generation spintronic devices

Aside from the deep understanding of the natural world that quantum physics theory offers, scientists worldwide are working tirelessly to bring forth a...

Im Focus: Excitation of robust materials

Kiel physics team observed extremely fast electronic changes in real time in a special material class

In physics, they are currently the subject of intensive research; in electronics, they could enable completely new functions. So-called topological materials...

Im Focus: Electrons in the fast lane

Solar cells based on perovskite compounds could soon make electricity generation from sunlight even more efficient and cheaper. The laboratory efficiency of these perovskite solar cells already exceeds that of the well-known silicon solar cells. An international team led by Stefan Weber from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz has found microscopic structures in perovskite crystals that can guide the charge transport in the solar cell. Clever alignment of these "electron highways" could make perovskite solar cells even more powerful.

Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. During this process, the electrons of the material inside the cell absorb the energy of the light....

Im Focus: The lightest electromagnetic shielding material in the world

Empa researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range – and they are unrivalled in terms of weight.

Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic...

Im Focus: Gentle wall contact – the right scenario for a fusion power plant

Quasi-continuous power exhaust developed as a wall-friendly method on ASDEX Upgrade

A promising operating mode for the plasma of a future power plant has been developed at the ASDEX Upgrade fusion device at Max Planck Institute for Plasma...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

International conference QuApps shows status quo of quantum technology

02.07.2020 | Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

X-ray scattering shines light on protein folding

10.07.2020 | Life Sciences

Looking at linkers helps to join the dots

10.07.2020 | Materials Sciences

Surprisingly many peculiar long introns found in brain genes

10.07.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>