Do scientist consider small asteroid/stones/junk in space while sending satellites to orbit or for long range missions like for Mars?

If yes, then how can they identify the trajectory and prepare those satellites/mission from future attacks? If no, then how satellites manage to travel so fast without hitting any obstacle?

  • $\begingroup$ The probability to hit a natural object in space is very, very small. To avoid small natural objects of the size of a coin or less is not possible anyway. But such small objects moving with a relative speed of several km/s could easily destroy a satellite or space probe. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Feb 5, 2018 at 15:19

1 Answer 1


Whipple shields or derivatives are used to protect against very small objects, and big sky theory along with knowledge of the relative size distribution (which is heavily weighted toward the small end of the scale) predicts very low chance of collision with larger ones. The largest ones, those that can be mapped from Earth, are relatively few in number and their orbits can be predicted to reasonable accuracy for months and usually decades in advance.

Since there are so many possible causes of failure in spaceflight, the chance of collision with an unseen object that the shielding cannot handle is only one of many risks of mission failure, and not the largest.


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