Author Topic: Space Junk Collision Could Set Off Catastrophic Chain Reaction  (Read 1811 times)

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Offline Chris_

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According to the DoD's interim Space Posture Review, that could all come crashing down. Literally. Our satellites are sorely outnumbered by space debris, to the tune of 370,000 pieces of junk up there versus 1,100 satellites. That junk ranges from nuts and bolts lost during spacewalks to pieces of older satellites to whole satellites that no longer function, and it's all whipping around the Earth at a rate of about 4.8 miles per second.

The fear is that with so much junk already up there, a collision is numerically probable at some point. Two large pieces of junk colliding could theoretically send thousands more potential satellite killers into orbit, and those could in turn collide with other pieces of junk or with satellites, unleashing another swarm of debris. You get the idea.

To give an idea of how quickly a chain reaction could get out hand consider this: in February of last year a defunct Russian satellite collided with a communications satellite, turning 2 orbiting craft into 1,500 pieces of junk. The Chinese missile test that obliterated a satellite in 2007 spawned 100 times more than that, scattering 150,000 pieces of debris.
http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2010-05/dod-space-junk-tipping-point-collision-could-set-catastrophic-chain-reaction

I haven't heard anything about sending something up there to collect the debris.  The Stardust probe used aerogel to collect comet debris at 13,000 miles an hour... something similar might be used to clean up the junk.
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Offline The Village Idiot

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Re: Space Junk Collision Could Set Off Catastrophic Chain Reaction
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2010, 05:15:11 PM »
NASA was working on that, sort of a GLAD bag in space but the project got canceled.

Offline thundley4

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Re: Space Junk Collision Could Set Off Catastrophic Chain Reaction
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2010, 05:51:54 PM »
NASA was working on that, sort of a GLAD bag in space but the project got canceled.

We no longer need to worry about collisions. Lord Zero is keeping our craft at lower altitudes looking for global warming proof.

Offline rich_t

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Re: Space Junk Collision Could Set Off Catastrophic Chain Reaction
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2010, 06:40:29 PM »
Can we aim some of it at DC?
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Offline SSG Snuggle Bunny

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Re: Space Junk Collision Could Set Off Catastrophic Chain Reaction
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2010, 03:28:31 PM »
Can we aim some of it at DC?
You left out Turtle Bay!

 :hammer:
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Offline cavegal

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Re: Space Junk Collision Could Set Off Catastrophic Chain Reaction
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2010, 04:56:45 PM »
We no longer need to worry about collisions. Lord Zero is keeping our craft at lower altitudes looking for global warming proof.
I also thought Lord Zer0 gave most of NASA to the Muslims? :banghead: :bang


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