Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Space Junk

Sure, sure, there were the usual screaming headlines pertaining to life on Earth but a small paragraph caught my attention in this morning's WSJ:

"NASA said October's shuttle flight faces a higher risk of getting hit by space debris because of a more littered orbit."

So, I went on to read about McCain, Obama, Palin, Fannie, Freddie and the usual gang but could not get past this factoid. Seriously? We've not only trashed the home planet but have now moved on to fucking up space as well??? Wow. I had no idea and honestly, was much happier then.

According to Robert Roy Britt at Space.com, "Thousands of nuts, bolts, gloves and other debris from space missions form an orbiting garbage dump around Earth, presenting a hazard to spacecraft. Some of the bits and pieces scream along at 17,500 mph."

Some "fun" space junk facts:

The oldest debris still on orbit is the second US satellite, the Vanguard I, launched on 1958, March, the 17th, which worked only for 6 years.

In 1965, during the first American space walk, the Gemini 4 astronaut Edward White, lost a glove. For a month, the glove stayed on orbit with a speed of 28,000 km / h, becoming the most dangerous garment in history.

More than 200 objects, most of them rubbish bags, were released by the Mir space station during its first 10 years of operation.

The most space debris created by a spacecraft's destruction was due to the upper stage of a Pegasus rocket launched in 1994. Its explosion in 1996 generated a cloud of some 300,000 fragments bigger than 4 mm and 700 among them were big enough to be catalogued. This explosion alone doubled the Hubble Space Telescope collision risk.

I don't know about you guys but I'm going to start wearing a helmet ...


Heidi's heart said...

Thanks for this entry. I have long been horrified by the Texas-sized garbage dump in the middle of the Pacific, but this just adds to the horror.

ClizBiz said...

Yeah, not very uplifting but it's better than having this info swept under the rug. And how many rugs are there in space?

Anonymous said...

...There isn't many rugs in space but there are planets :( innocent beautiful orbs of age waiting for our garbage.

michael jordan said...

Space debris getting dust from solid rocket motors, surface degradation products such as paint flakes.Impacts of these particles cause erosive damage, similar to the sandblasting.One of the major defense country Japan has started to thinking seriously about a militarized program focusing on space.Now, it's creating an entire militarized force to monitor and control the debris field from the ground.In this process US and Japaneese Governments agreed in May to work together on debris monitoring force.Let see how it works and the results are going to be.