24/7 Space News
High-Velocity Impacts Explored in Experimental Study
Hypervelocity impacts occur in a wide range of aerospace and planetary applications, with a range of impact velocities and ambient atmospheres. The experimental conditions investigated in this work, for example, are equivalent to the ambient atmospheric density at an altitude of approximately 30 km (relevant to the upper and lower operational envelopes of high-velocity air-breathing and boost-glide vehicles respectively.
High-Velocity Impacts Explored in Experimental Study
by Brad Bartz
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Jul 12, 2023

Scientists from Johns Hopkins University have conducted a groundbreaking experimental study to unravel the mysteries behind impact flashes generated by high-velocity impacts. With debris and meteoroids posing a significant threat to satellites, space probes, and hypersonic craft, understanding the nature and characteristics of these impact flashes is crucial for ensuring the safety and durability of vital space assets.

The study, led by Gary Simpson, K.T. Ramesh, and their team, focused on investigating impact flashes by propelling stainless steel spheres into an aluminum alloy plate at an astonishing speed of three kilometers per second (about 6,700 miles per hour), which is over nine times the speed of sound. To capture these ephemeral moments, ultra-high-speed cameras and high-speed spectroscopy were employed to photograph and measure the color and brightness of the impact flashes.

Upon impact, the researchers observed a luminous disc expanding around the impacting sphere. Within a few millionths of a second, this disc transformed into a captivating floral shape, resembling the petals of a flower. The transformation occurred as fragments ejected from the impact crater converged to form an ejecta cone, generating petal-like projections at the outer edge. Based on their observations, the researchers concluded that these impact flashes originate from the fragmentation of an ultra-fast jet of material ejected from the colliding bodies.

Interestingly, minuscule condensed fragments from the jet interact with the surrounding atmosphere, creating an intensely bright radiating cloud of vapor. This cloud expands at an astonishing speed of over ten kilometers per second (equivalent to more than 22,000 miles per hour). Remarkably, the authors of the study highlight that the composition of the target material and the size of the jetted particles can be inferred from the properties of the impact flash.

"Hypervelocity impacts occur in a wide range of aerospace and planetary applications, with varying impact velocities and ambient atmospheres," explained the researchers. "The experimental conditions explored in our study, for example, simulate the ambient atmospheric density at an altitude of approximately 30 km. This is particularly relevant to the upper and lower operational envelopes of high-velocity air-breathing and boost-glide vehicles, respectively."

The findings from this experimental study shed new light on the intricate nature of impact flashes generated by high-velocity impacts. By deciphering the characteristics and behavior of these flashes, scientists can enhance our understanding of the physics behind hypervelocity impacts and develop more robust and resilient space technologies.

The implications of this research extend beyond the realm of fundamental science. With the ever-increasing utilization of satellites, space probes, and hypersonic craft, safeguarding these assets from potential damage caused by impacts is of paramount importance. By unraveling the secrets of impact flashes, scientists and engineers can design more effective shielding mechanisms and protective measures to mitigate the risks associated with high-velocity impacts.

As we venture further into space exploration, our understanding of the forces at play during hypervelocity impacts will continue to evolve. The quest to decode the mysteries of impact flashes represents a significant step forward in our pursuit of safer and more reliable space technologies. The research conducted by Simpson, Ramesh, and their team lays a solid foundation for future investigations in this field and paves the way for innovative solutions to protect our space infrastructure.

Research Report:Fine structure of the impact flash and ejecta during hypervelocity impact

Related Links
Johns Hopkins University
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
The chore of packing just got faster and easier
Boston MA (SPX) Jul 08, 2023
In 1611, Johannes Kepler - known for his laws of planetary motion - offered a solution to the question concerning the densest possible way to arrange equal-sized spheres. The famed astronomer took on this problem when asked how to stack cannonballs so as to take up the least amount of space. Kepler concluded that the best configuration is a so-called face-centered cubic lattice - an approach commonly used in grocery stores for displaying oranges: Every cannonball should rest in the cavity left by the fo ... read more

RTX selected for crossover task order under NASA xEVAS contract

NASA expands task orders for spacewalking, moonwalking suits

Sidus Space Joins Forces with Lulav Space to Develop Advanced Star Tracker

Space Act Agreement with NASA will advance UArizona engagement in human spaceflight

Southern Launch reveals new logo and branding

SpaceX's Falcon 9 first-stage booster breaks the record on its 16th flight

LandSpace to launch methane-propelled rocket

PLD Space wins the aerospace public-private partnership contract promoted by Spanish Government to develop a micro launcher

First CHAPEA Crew Begins 378-Day Mission

Martian dunes eroded by a shift in prevailing winds after the planet's last ice age

Heading toward a cluster of craters: Sols 3880-3881

Ingenuity phones home

Tianzhou 5 reconnects with Tiangong space station

China questions whether there is a new moon race afoot

Three Chinese astronauts return safely to Earth

Scientific experimental samples brought back to Earth, delivered to scientists

Saudi Space Commission holds several meetings with Chinese space companies

Radio telescope observations confirm unintended radiation from large satellite constellations

Commanding role for Andreas in space

ESA unveils its comprehensive, high-resolution image library in a revamped platform

DARPA seeks input on novel methods to separate, purify rare earth elements

iQPS initiates a full-scale study to leverage SkyCompass-1 optical data relay service

EU, Japan talk cooperation on raw materials

High-Velocity Impacts Explored in Experimental Study

Study increases probability of finding water on other worlds by x100

'Like a mirror': Astronomers identify most reflective exoplanet

Astronomers discover elusive planet responsible for spiral arms around its star

Preventing interplanetary pollution that could pose a threat to life on Earth and other planets

First ultraviolet data collected by ESA's JUICE mission

Unveiling Jupiter's upper atmosphere

ASU study: Jupiter's moon Europa may have had a slow evolution

Juno captures lightning bolts above Jupiter's north pole

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2023 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.