Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Space debris orbiting Earth

From YoPress. Makes me wonder how we see any stars at all.

Beware of Falling Space Junk and Space Debris
Here is a map and a chart showing just how much there is.
1) Russians Space Debris
2) Geosynchronous satellites

3) Junk from Scientific Missions

4) Junk from Other Countries
- including the European Space Agency, Japan, France, India, and several companies.
5) Space Junk/ Debris that Will Fall Soon
- old junk falls back through the atmosphere about once a day.


Is this debris dangerous?
In one case, a collision with a tiny space trash particle (only about one tenth of a millimeter wide) resulted in a 1 millimeter wide crack in a space shuttle window.

What you may have called a “falling star” is probably space junk, which falls back through the atmosphere about once a day. Usually the debris completely burns up on reentry, but several 100-pound-plus fragments have crashed to Earth. Surprisingly, there has only been one report of an injury, a woman in Tulsa, Oklahoma, who was hit by falling space junk.

MissleThis brings us to the current news of a bus-sized satellite now hurtling toward earth, which is carrying about 1,000 pounds of toxic fuel. The plan is to shoot it down with a star-wars like missile.

There will be one chance / attempt at getting this right, which is going to be about as difficult as hitting a bullet with another bullet. If successful, it will just create millions of little pieces of space junk, which will probably burn up on re-entry, but if it fails, we can only hope that someone will be able to predict exactly where it will land.

2 comments:

Cole said...

Wow. That looks like alot of debris. Interesting article. I hope they accomplish their goal. :)

Tommy said...

Now there's an opportunity for a daring entrepreneur to create a space vacuum to suck all that shit up.