Collisions Into Dust Experiment

Studied dust collisions on the Space Shuttle

The Collisions Into Dust Experiment (COLLIDE) studied the gentle collisions that occur between particles in planetary rings and in the early stages of planet formation. The weightless environment of the space shuttle allowed for collisions into dust at very low speeds to help understand how planetary rings evolve and how the planets themselves formed. The purpose of COLLIDE-2 was to better understand the release of dust from the surfaces of small particles in planetary rings and protoplanetary disks, by spring launching Teflon spheres into trays of powdered basaltic rock. Engineering students at the University of Colorado Boulder designed and built the COLLIDE-2 experiment with the help of LASP engineering professionals.

Mission Class:


Mission Status:


LASP Roles:

Research, Instruments, Engineering, Lead Institute

Science Target:


Mission Focus:

Interstellar Dust, Planetary Dust

Launch Date: April 17, 1998 and December 5, 2001
Prime Mission: Six experiments of approximately 3 minutes each

Lead Institution: LASP at the University of Colorado Boulder

Lead Funding Agency: NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate through the Flight Opportunities program

Partners: NASA’s Glenn Research Center