GEOFF TOMPKINSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEOFF TOMPKINSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Space junk crater. Coloured light micrograph of an impact crater caused by space junk on a solar panel of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The HST was released on a Space Shuttle mission in April 1990. The large solar panels which provided power for the satellite were constantly bombarded with tiny high-velocity particles. While some of these were natural small meteoroids, there were impacts from "space junk": debris left in orbit from previous missions. Study of the solar panels provided data about impacts and the damage they cause. This data is important in the planning of future missions, notably the proposed space station. Magnification: x9 at 35mm size.
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