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Next week, Earth's annual October encounter with the Draconid meteor shower will peak as our planet passes through several trails of tiny rocks and dust from the comet 21P/Giacobini–Zinner. But the shooting star display is also posing some concern for NASA spacecraft. NASA is looking into strategies to safeguard spacecraft, including the International Space Station and the Hubble Space Telescope, from possible dings from the meteor shower. Meanwhile, scientists in the United States and Germany have been experimenting with hypervelocity impacts in order to simulate what kind of damage could occur from meteoroid strikes. Just what kind of light show the Draconids may present for skywatchers on Oct. 8, when the meteor shower peaks, is hard to predict. But meteoroid experts hold varying views as to the intensity of this year’s go-round with the Draconids. [Related: October's Draconid Meteor Shower May Impress]
Some forecasters say it could be a strong shower, maybe even a meteor storm of up to 1,000 shooting stars an hour at its peak.