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.


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.