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Meteoroid Detectors

NSSDCA ID: 1973-019A-04

Mission Name: Pioneer 11
Principal Investigator:Dr. William H. Kinard


This experiment was designed to measure the number of meteoroid impacts on the Pioneer 11 spacecraft. The instrument was sensitive to meteoroids of mass approximately 1E-8 g. The instrumentation consisted of 234 cells pressurized with an argon-nitrogen mixture. Penetration of the 50-micrometer-thick skin of the cell resulted in the loss of gas at a rate proportional to the size of the hole. Gas loss was detected with a cold cathode device. The cells were initially pressurized to 1175 torrs at 295 deg K. The cells were formed by welding together two sheets of stainless steel in a configuration resembling an air mattress. The exposed area of each cell was 2.45E-3 sq m. The cells were mounted on the back of the high gain antenna dish. For a description of the experiment see D. H. Humes et al., J. Geophys. Res., v. 79, pp. 3677-3684, 1974. This instrument was turned off in June 1984.

Alternate Names

  • Pioneer11/MeteoroidDetectors

Funding Agency

  • NASA-Office of Space Science (United States)


  • Space Physics: Zodiacal Light/Interplanet Dust
  • Planetary Science: Small Bodies

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Dr. John F. Cooper



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Mr. Donald H. HumesOther InvestigatorNASA Langley Research
Mr. Jose M. AlvarezOther InvestigatorNASA Langley Research Center
Dr. William H. KinardPrincipal InvestigatorNASA Langley Research
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