Meteor shower to wreck Hubble Space Telescope, ISS
The Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station could suffer heavy damage from the worst meteor storm in over a decade, NASA has warned.world Updated: Jun 19, 2010 09:49 IST
The Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station could suffer heavy damage from the worst meteor storm in over a decade, NASA has warned.
Even as the seven-hour bombardment from the comet debris - due around October 2011 - would be a visual treat for star gazers, astronomers fear that it may hit orbiting spacecrafts and wreck their electronics.
The storm, which traverses the Earth's orbit around the sun every October, arises from a meteor shower called the Draconids, according to NASA.
It has named so because the meteors appear to stream in from the direction of the constellation of Draco the Dragon.
Although NASA has still not been able to determine how serious the storm will be, spacecraft operators are being advised to develop defensive mechanisms.
"We're already working with (other) Nasa programmes to deal with spacecraft risk. I imagine when the word gets out there will be a Draconid outburst, I'll get the usual calls from ... companies as well as government space programs," The Telegraph quoted Dr William Cooke, from the Meteoroid Environment Office at Nasa's Marshall Space Flight Centre in Alabama, as saying.
"If you are hit by a sporadic [meteor], it's an act of God. If you are hit by a shower meteoroid, it's an act of negligence," he pointed out.
Cooke added: "Even if the Draconids were a full-scale meteor storm I would be confident that the space station (officials) would take the right steps to mitigate the risk."