Meteorite temperature measurements during ground testing

David Leiser, Christian Dürnhofer, Erik Poloni, Stefan Löhle, Pavol Matlovič, Juraj Tóth, Jérémie Vaubaillon

Available online 11 November 2023, 115867


“Ground testing meteorite samples offer in-situ measurements of known materials in conditions that occur during entry into Earth’s atmosphere. 22 meteorite samples with a wide range of origins and classifications were tested in the plasma wind tunnel facility PWK1 at the Institute of Space Systems in Stuttgart. These tests recreate the flow condition of a meteoroid during entry into earth’s atmosphere at an altitude of 78.8 km altitude and a velocity of 11.7 km s-1. Four optical diagnostic techniques were used to measure the surface temperature above 1000 K. 2-D methods showed that the surface temperature is evenly distributed over the sample surface, while time-resolved analyses show that the samples reach a steady state temperature within 0.5 s. The steady-state temperature for chondritic samples was consistent but varied significantly for achondrites and iron meteorite samples. The composition data showed a strong dependency of the surface temperature on the silicon content. The surface temperatures were shown to be dependent on the material and a database of temperatures was set up. The Planck fit methodology could be directly adapted to spectral meteor observation systems. A comparison of the method to established methods showed an offset between the methods. This data could be applied to thermal models to better understand the energy transfer processes during meteor flight.”