You are science staff on the first manned flight from earth to mars.
On swing two around earth’s moon, the spacecraft’s impact detectors flare into action.
A hull robot faxes an atomic resolution image of micro-meteorite debris, after which it is disabled by an impact itself!
On the 2nd swing around the earth’s moon, the micro-meteorite detectors on the spacecraft suddenly flare into action. The intensity of the bombardment is high enough to threated the well-being of the crew. A decision must be made by 11am on whether to (I) continue on course as if the cause is a short-lived cometary shower, (2) alter course slightly as if bombardment comes from solid fuel rocket exhaust, or (3) abort the mission and return to earth if the micrometeorites are fragments of breakup of a nearby asteroid.
A hull inspection robot is dispatched to examine the ship’s hull. Unfortunately, the robot is disabled by a micrometeorite impact, but luckily not before the scanning force microscope that it carries with it manages to send to the ship’s 5000 dpi fax machine an atomic-resolution image of the debris in one of the larger micro-meteorite craters, magnified M times.
With the robot unable to analyze the debris or its image further, the ship’s captain asks your team to try and determine the origin of the debris from the faxed image, and to recommend a course of action to him within the next hour or so.