Why do things burn up on re-entry into earth's atmosphere?

Jump to Last Post 1-5 of 5 discussions (5 posts)
  1. Jangaplanet profile image72
    Jangaplanetposted 6 years ago

    Why do things burn up on re-entry into earth's atmosphere?

  2. HarshitG profile image60
    HarshitGposted 6 years ago

    The main reason why things heat up when they hit the Earth’s atmosphere is they've got huge amounts of kinetic energy - they're going incredibly fast.  When they bash into the Earth’s atmosphere, most of the heating is actually because the air they bash into hasn’t got time to get out of the way, so the air get compressed, and when you compress air - you may have noticed if you've ever pumped off a bicycle tire very, very quickly - it gets hotter.  So the air in front of the asteroid heats up very, very incredibly hot, and that starts to erode the surface of the meteorite and you get this tail of a very, very hot stuff behind the meteorite which you see as a shooting star.

    With very, very small things, because the friction is so much larger compared to their mass, they tend to lose their speed very high up in the atmosphere much more gently, so they slow down much more gently and don’t get as hot.  Once they slow down enough, they just drift down like dust does gently through the atmosphere.  So, it is conceivable that something like a bacteria on a small dust grain could survive, whereas a big lump would melt up very quickly.

  3. Evan G Rogers profile image74
    Evan G Rogersposted 6 years ago

    Heat = atoms smashing into one another.

    Hot is when the atoms are smashing into each other a lot at high speed.

    There are no atoms in outer space, so meteors, etc,?Are freezing.

    The second the meteor enters our atmosphere, it hits air.

    Thus, we have very fast meteors hitting atoms.

    Thus, we have heat.

  4. ackman1465 profile image60
    ackman1465posted 6 years ago

    If you remember that "air" really is "something" (it's a gas).... then consider that, when a meteor or a space vehicle or a piece of space debris starts to move toward Earth.... and, at the speeds that they travel (a space shuttle begins its descent at about 18,000 MPH!).... then the FRICTION of the air upon the impacting surface becomes so great that a lot of heat is developed.   

    When one of the space shuttles broke apart (over Texas and Louisiana) we learned that there were tiles on the "under-side" that impinged on the Earth's environment (it lead, going in to the air/atmosphere) the temperatures were great enough to melt the metal that was under the tiles.   With the tiles compromised, the high temp impinged upon the underside of the shuttle's metal belly and started making holes in it.....   until those holes upset the aerodynamics of the vehicle, caused it to go out of control and, ultimately, break apart and fall to Earth....

    Most space debris ("meteors" or "shooting stars") are small objects (few are even as large as a baseball), which glow hot upon starting in to the Earth's air atmosphere.... and they quickly break apart and the resulting debris (rather dustlike) falls harmlessly to Earth....  As many as several TONS of space debris intersects with Earth each year!!!!

    Very large objects, like those that struck Crater Lake, Arizona or the Russian steppe, in the early 1900s can very very destructive when they land....

  5. Faceless39 profile image93
    Faceless39posted 6 years ago

    In the case of space ships, they're solid and moving super fast.  Think of running really fast and doing a belly dive into some carpet.  Friction burns are no fun, and it's a similar idea to what happens when a space ship "hits" the atomic gases of the atmosphere on re-entry.

 
working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)