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Interplanetary Dust Particles

NSSDCA ID: 1964-054A-07

Mission Name: OGO 1
Principal Investigator:Dr. J. Lloyd Bohn


This experiment was designed to measure the velocity and mass distributions of interplanetary dust particles with diameters of the order of 1 micrometer. The experiment extended the mass distribution curve out to the radiation pressure limit and measured the fluctuations in the velocity distribution, mass distribution, and spatial densities of micrometer size dust particles.

The instrumentation consisted of four nearly identical meteoroid sensors located in a container mounted on the end of the 1.8-m EP-3 boom. Each sensor tube consisted of two thin films (1000-A thick aluminum and aluminum oxide), a grid, and a microphone. The sensors had openings in the plus or minus X, plus Y, and minus Z directions. Penetration of the aluminum film by a micrometeoroid produced a plasma cloud that was collected by the aluminum oxide film and started a 2-MHz clock. A plasma cloud was also produced when the micrometeoroid struck the microphone plate. The plasma cloud was collected by the grid, which stopped the clock and provided a measurement of the particle's velocity. The resulting pulse height signal from the grid provided information on the kinetic energy and/or momentum of the particle.

The plus Y sensor had an apparent failure. Moreover, the directionality of the particles could not be determined owing to the spin of OGO 1 and the low data sampling rate. The actual flux was so much lower than expected that only several micrometeoroid events were observed. More details regarding experiment design may be found in Alexander, W. A., et al., Nature, v. 208, p. 673, November 13, 1965. No data from this experiment were archived at NSSDC.

Image and data from Nilsson and Alexander, Measured velocities of interplanetary dust particles from OGO-1, NASA SP-135.

Alternate Names

  • OGO1/InterplanetaryDustParticles


  • Planetary Science: Small Bodies

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Carl S. NilssonGeneral ContactFlinders University of Southern Austin
Dr. Wesley M. AlexanderOther InvestigatorBaylor University
Dr. J. Lloyd BohnPrincipal InvestigatorTemple University

Selected References

  • Orbiting Geophysical Observatory, scientific experiments, OGO 1 (preliminary), NASA-GSFC, Unnumbered, Greenbelt, Md., Aug. 1970.
  • Nilsson, C. S., and W. M. Alexander, Measured velocities of interplanetary dust particles from OGO-1, NASA, SP-135, Wash., D.C. and Smithsonian Contrib. Astrophys., 11, 301-306, 1967. (Proc. of the Symp. on Meteor Orbits and Dust, Cambridge, Mass., Aug. 9-13, 1965. Ed. G.S. Hawkins).
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