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With Catastrophes In Mind, Supercomputing Project Simulates Space Junk Collision

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the even-better-than-the-real-thing dept.

Space 15

aarondubrow writes "Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin developed a fundamentally new way of simulating fabric impacts that captures the fragmentation of the projectiles and the shock response of the target. Running hundreds of simulations on supercomputers at the Texas Advanced Computing Center, they assisted NASA in the development of ballistic limit curves that predict whether a shield will be perforated when hit by a projectile of a given size and speed. The framework they developed also allows them to study the impact of projectiles on body armor materials and to predict the response of different fabric weaves upon impact." With thousands of known pieces of man-made space junk, as well plenty of natural ones, it's no idle concern.

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15 comments

Asteroid Net? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44146571)

So they can use this to determine what high-tech fabric they should use to catch any large Earth-impact asteroids in a giant net?

Any new NASA job posting should include "dog catching or butterfly collecting experience required".

Re:Asteroid Net? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44146747)

Ever tried to catch a herd of stampeding elephants with a butterfly net?
That would be magnitudes easier than what you're proposing...
Hmm, do nets make a whooshing sound?

Re:Asteroid Net? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44146963)

Hmm, do nets make a whooshing sound?

Indeed they do ;-)

An astronaut or spacecraft being hit by space stuff would certainly be a tragedy, but catastrophe implies something much bigger - thus said asteroid.

In space... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44147787)

No one can hear the whoosh.

I don't get it (1)

loosescrews (1916996) | about 10 months ago | (#44146605)

Is there a connection between the title and summary?

Re:I don't get it (1)

Dabido (802599) | about 10 months ago | (#44160925)

Yes, they're simulating collisions between materials (fabrics) that can be used in the manufacture of things like spaceships and ISS's etc, with things that can be found in space, like bits of asteroid, space debris etc. to see how the materials react.

Ballistics Tests (3, Insightful)

NobleSavage (582615) | about 10 months ago | (#44146655)

The summary sounds like the experiment would be good for ballistics tests. I'm not sure what the Title means.

What about spin? (5, Interesting)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 10 months ago | (#44147175)

I've seen numerous studies and theories about the ballistic impact of asteroid strikes and satellite collisions. I've seen nothing on the _spin_, the angular momentum, imparted by such impacts. Even if the shield survives, if the angular momentum imparted by an off-center impact is large enough, the impacted satellite or space craft could well be spinning faster than its available rocket resources can compensate for, or even beyond the ability of its communications and guidance systems to plan a recovery. This possibility could actually be made _worse_ by installing effective shielding. An impact that would have previously left a small hole through the spacecraft would instead be stopped or deflected and instead deposit far more angular momentum.

Has anyone here seen or participated in such analyses?

Re:What about spin? (2)

Chrontius (654879) | about 10 months ago | (#44148883)

History suggests that "small holes" are less likely than "complete disintegration" - small holes in hypergolic fuel tanks tend to end messily, it seems.

Re:What about spin? (2)

iggymanz (596061) | about 10 months ago | (#44148993)

just as with projectiles from a gun, the angular momentum of space debris including asteroids is very tiny compared to total momentum; rotational kinetic energy tiny compared to total KE.......

Re:What about spin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44151423)

just as with projectiles from a gun, the angular momentum of space debris including asteroids is very tiny compared to total momentum; rotational kinetic energy tiny compared to total KE.......

Re-read the post to which you replied. He/she is talking about an off-centre impact and the effect on the spin of the object that was struck, not the object doing the striking. A small (but fast-moving) object striking a larger one off-centre could cause the larger object to spin.

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