I recall a short story of a spacewalker (astronaut on an EVA to repair something) who gets hit in the leg by a small swarm of micrometeorites, which zip right through his leg. IIRC, he somehow figures they are in some sort of periodic orbit, and he's going to get hit again.

As I recall, the micrometeroids just flashed right through him. I do not recall how he determined they were going to come back, nor how he determined the period of their orbit (or even what they were orbiting.

Anyone know the story / author?

The story (IIRC) was in a collection of a number of short stories, I do not know if it was a collection by various authors, or a single one. It was "young-adult" fiction, generally written on a reasonably accurate scientific basis (or at least the author tried). Thanks

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    – Politank-Z
    Dec 28, 2017 at 5:39

1 Answer 1


This sounds like Kaleidoscope, by Ray Bradbury. Several astronauts are marooned in their suits after their ship is destroyed. One of them (Stone) is pulled into the wake of an asteroid swarm, another (Hollis) has his foot torn off by an asteroid, but seals his suit. It's a character piece of several very different men only able to communicate by radio.

  • 1
    I immediately thought of Jerome Bixby's The Holes Around Mars, although that isn't a spacewalk, or micrometeorites.
    – JdeBP
    Dec 28, 2017 at 11:39
  • 1
    Ah yes, Bottomos! Dec 28, 2017 at 14:41
  • Thanks for the responses. Not sure what "Bottomos" means (I'll google it).... Anyway - it's not Kaleidoscope (that's a good story, though). The micrometeorites are just that - dust sized particles go through his leg so fast that they seem do inflict limited, but serious damage to him. There's no tearing off of limbs, etc.
    – Chuck
    Dec 28, 2017 at 15:50
  • Bottomos was the name of the moon in the story JdeBP referenced. There is a very similar scene in the movie Dark Star by Dan O'Bannon. So similar in fact that it's very likely copied from. Dec 28, 2017 at 16:35
  • Just read "The Holes Around Mars" - thanks. Not the story I was thinking of, but interesting for sure. I can see why you make the connection from my description.
    – Chuck
    Dec 29, 2017 at 6:33

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