[meteorite-list] Skylad 4 Astronaut, William Pouge, on Micrometeorite Damage

From: MARK BOSTICK <thebigcollector_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Wed Aug 11 09:41:01 2004
Message-ID: <BAY4-F10ZfEAkqBiBsb00018e95_at_hotmail.com>

Hello list,

Last month I posted a letter from Skylab 4 science pilot Ed Gibson on
micro-meteorite damage. (Skylab 4, the third and final manned flight to the
Skylab space station, November 16, 1973 to February 8, 1974). This short Q
and A is from correspondence I had with Skylab 4 pilot William Pogue. For
your convenience I have put my question, and followed it by Pogue's answers.

Mark: It is my understanding that micrometeorites form little craters when
impactite the ship. Have you ever felt any of these impacts and did you see
any damage on the space craft after you landed?

William Pogue unlined "ever felt" and wrote "NO" to the side and unlined
"see any damage" and wrote "No" on the side of it.

Mark: Is there any special tools NASA sends with astronauts, or special
training you where given in the case a meteorite should strike and heavily
damage a craft while in use?

William Pogue: On Skylab we had two types of patches in the event a
meteoroid penetraded the spacecraft.
1. Carrot - shaped cones to plug and clean holes.
2. Dome shaped hemispheric patches to cover larger or jagged holes.


Pogue was also kind to photocopy sections from his Q and A book "How Do You
Go To The Bathroom in Space?":

Question 177. Did you hit any meteoroids? What would happen if you did hit

     Yes, but all were very small, the size of a tiny speck of dust. We had
special test surfaces monted outside on Skylab that were called
micro-meteoroid samples. Tiny meteoroid particles made minatur crates when
they hit some of the samplers. A meteoroid larger then a pinhead (1/16 inch
diameteor or larger) would probably urn a hole in the wall of a spacecraft
if it were not protected. Assuming no one was hit by the tiny fragments,
the worst problem arising from the hole would be loss of air. The large the
meteoroid, the worse the problem. The hazard from meteoriods is actually
less than being hit by manmade orbital debis.
      Hits from micro-meteoroids have been detected on our helmets, but the
tiny pits are not visible to the unaided eye. A scanning electron
microscope can be used to take pictures of them. They look like miniature

Clear Skies,
Mark Bostick
Received on Wed 11 Aug 2004 09:40:49 AM PDT

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