GEOFF TOMPKINSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEOFF TOMPKINSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Cosmic dust analyser testing. Dr Simon Green places the Cosmic Dust Analyser (CDA) in a test chamber. The CDA is designed to collect and analyse interplanetary and interstellar dust. This chamber simulates the environment in space. A vacuum is formed inside the chamber, and dust particles are accelerated to around 200 kilometres per second and fired into the chamber. The CDA was part of the payload on the Cassini mission to Saturn, which launched in October 1997. Information on the mass, speed and composition of cosmic dust particles is important, as future missions will have to be protected against damage from small high-velocity collisions.
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