[meteorite-list] Wildfire Cluster Probed

From: Starbits_at_aol.com <Starbits_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:48:11 2004
Message-ID: <14f.23a8759.28f4e1d2_at_aol.com>

<Wouldn't satellite debris be under the same cold constraints as a meteorite?>

Not necessarily. A meteorite would have to have a circular orbit at 1 Au to receive the same solar energy. A meteorite on a cometary type orbit would receive different energy levels depending on where it is in it's orbit. In addition equitorial orbiting satalites would spend part of each orbit in the earth's shadow unlike meteorites. Other factors are that electronic equipment would heat the satallite or sometimes cool it depending on requirements. Overall though, I doubt the difference would be noticable upon earth arrival.

>In fact, I would bet that since the overall density of a satellite is lower than than that of rock (my assumption anyway), they would be even less likely to carry any frictional heat to earth.>

The few satellites I found dimensions and weights on turned out surprising light (to me any way) with densities of about 0.3 gm/cm3, about 1/10th that of stony meteorites. While I agree with your conclusion satellites would be less likely to carry frictional heat to earth I don't necessarily agree with the implied conclusion that they would therefore be less likely to start fires. It may be possible that some material on a satallite, such as heat blankets, insulation, etc. could be made to smolder upon reentry and retain enough heat upon arrival to start fires. Maybe somebody with more knowledge on satellite construction could chime in.

Eric Olson
Received on Tue 09 Oct 2001 07:27:13 PM PDT

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