A device for protecting spacecraft against high-speed impacts by debris. A Whipple shield, also known as a bumper shield, consists of an outer skin of metal around a spacecraft which will vaporize dust particles before they reach the craft itself. The shield and spacecraft are separated by a gap called a standoff. In a ‘stuffed’ Whipple shield, the gap can be filled with blankets of ceramic cloth and other toughened materials as used in bullet-proof vests to increase protection against larger impacts. Such shields are named after the American astronomer and comet expert Fred L. Whipple (1906–2004) who invented the concept in 1946.
Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.