We got asked on twitter this morning whether this solar panel had indeed been hit and shattered by a meteorite. It looks like a pretty heavy impact and would be really cool if it’s true …
But unfortunately, it’s probably not. 🙁
Gretchen is a meteorite expert and she says “I would say not – because micrometeorites are really, really micro – which means they would get slowed down coming through the atmosphere. This means they wouldn’t have hit a roof at anything like cosmic velocities.”
Martin is an applied physicist on the Desert Fireball Network and has worked at the European Space Agency. He once spent three weeks staring at Hubble space telescope solar panels with a camera.
Martin says: “Cricket ball. It doesn’t look like a micrometeorite impact at all. The large rings far out from the impact site imply to me momentum and shock waves rippling out, not an explosive type impact that meteorites produce. Plus you don’t get hyper-velocity micrometeorites on the Earth’s surface, only higher up.”
Still, we always love an investigation and a wicked blog – thanks Dave!