NASA has a Ballistic air gun to Hurl Rocks at Space Suits to Test Their Micrometeorite Protection

Shock testing is usually used all through engineering to find out how a product will do when impacted by one thing.  That one thing could possibly be something from the bottom to a cruise missile.  Like a lot else in house exploration, engineers at NASA are performing the identical sort of take a look at, simply scaled up.  As an alternative of merely dropping the article beneath take a look at, as is widespread in most settings, they shoot it with a metal ball going 3000 ft/second.

Researchers on the Ballistics Impact Lab use a 40-foot-long gun to simulate what it will be wish to be hit by a micrometeorite in house.  Not too long ago, the group has centered on testing various kinds of material to be used in house fits.  A fast decompression from a micrometeorite strike anyplace on a swimsuit can be deadly to any astronaut unfortunate sufficient to undergo one.  

Ballistics Lab technical lead Mike Pereira units up a drop take a look at.
Credit score – NASA

Understanding how a chunk of material would fail in such a state of affairs is important to bettering its design.  Some types of failure are worse than others. The lab has a sequence of high-speed cameras and sensors surrounding the fabric beneath take a look at to make sure it will possibly seize as a lot knowledge about these failure modes as attainable.  

These failure modes may be attributable to extra than simply metal balls.  A special take a look at rig shoots a chunk of simulated moon rock (primarily product of basalt) vertically down onto the material.  Additionally, the material isn’t the one materials that has to endure such testing – different materials that could possibly be used on the outside of habitats, and even materials particularly designed to seize house particles, should additionally endure comparable violent testing.

Picture of a number of the basalt rocks used as projectiles within the assessments.
Credit score – NASA

Such testing will proceed, utilizing a mixture of assets from the Glenn Research Center, the place the bodily lab is situated, and Johnson Space Center, the place the info is analyzed.  As sustaining a decent seal between the exterior void and the comfortable human inhabiting the fits and habitats of the Moon turns into extra important, violently testing the supplies that make these seals out of does in order nicely.

Study Extra:
NASA – Ballistic Air Guns and Mock Moon Rocks Aid in Search for Durable Space Fabrics
UT – Ballistic Trajectory
UT – Why Can’t We Design the Perfect Spacesuit?

Lead Picture:
Picture of the ballistics lab at NASA’s Glenn Analysis Middle.
Credit score – NASA | NASA has a Ballistic air gun to Hurl Rocks at Area Fits to Check Their Micrometeorite Safety


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