Tiny pieces of aluminum and nylon are fired at speeds up to 10 kilometers per second to test the effect of their impact and evaluate how well spacecraft can survive similar collisions with debris in orbit, writes Michael Abrams. That's the mission at the Small Particle Hypervelocity Impact Range facility at the California Institute of Technology, which uses a two-stage gun generating a hydrogen shock pulse focused to a point to achieve such speeds. Then it's a matter of maximizing data collection on the impact to take full advantage of each $500 shot, said the SPHIR's Jonathan Mihaly.

Full Story:

Related Summaries