Mineralogy and microanalysis in the determination of cause of impact damage to spacecraft surfaces
G. A. Graham, A. T. Kearsley, G. Drolshagen, J. A. M. McDonnell, I. P. Wright, M. M. Grady, 2004. "Mineralogy and microanalysis in the determination of cause of impact damage to spacecraft surfaces", Forensic Geoscience: Principles, Techniques and Applications, K. Pye, D. J. Croft
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Cosmic dust grains are the abundant, fine-grained end-member of a range of extraterrestrial materials travelling through space. These particles can impact orbiting space vehicles (e.g. satellites and the International Space Station) at velocities ranging from 10 to 72 km s−1. Impact damage resulting from such a collision could potentially disable or limit the operational use of a spacecraft. There is great commercial interest from the satellite companies and space agencies to understand the nature and proportion of impacts that are caused by cosmic dust particles to assist in risk management studies and for protective shielding optimization. The successful recovery of any surface that has been exposed to the near-Earth environment offers an excellent opportunity to search for micrometre-scaled impact features and the associated projectile residues using scanning electron microscopy and X-ray microanalysis.
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Forensic Geoscience: Principles, Techniques and Applications
Forensic geoscience is an increasingly important sub-discipline within geoscience and forensic science. Although minerals, soils, dusts and rock fragments have been used as only begun to be recognized in the last ten years or so. The police and other investigative bodies are keen to encourage such developments in the fight against crime, particularly since many criminals show a high level of forensic awareness with regard to evidence such as fingerprints, blood and other body fluids. The papers in this volume illustrate some of the main principles, techniques and applications in current forensic geoscience, covering research and casework in the UK and internationally. The techniques described range from macro-scale field geophysical investigations to micro-scale laboratory studies of the chemical and textural properties of individual particles. In addition to forensic applications, many of these techniques have broad utility in geological, geomorphological, soil science and archaeological research.