Thursday, September 21, 2006

Space Litter

Do we now have to start a campaign to stop litter in space? Its bad enough on our streets and in our parks. Now it has downed the Atlantis return mission. Not once, not twice, but three times. Mysterious objects in space, UFOs, or that's what happens when you flush your garbage into the galaxy. Shuttle Landing Delay: UFO or Litter?

Sheesh. How do they know it ain't the three missing bolts that floated off during the repairs. Of course space litter could also be from exploded satellites from the undeclared war in space.

Litter, garbage, the result of the planned obsolescence the throw away culture of of capitalism in space. And wait till we get more space tourists. More litter. Duck here comes another one.....

Tossed in space, litter-ally

It's a junkyard out there in space, and sometimes astronauts accidentally contribute to the litter.

In 1965, the first American spacewalker, Ed White, lost a spare glove when he went outside for the first time. From that time on, astronauts have accidentally added some of the more unusual items to the 100,000 pieces of space trash that circle Earth.

In July, spacewalker Piers Sellers sheepishly reported that he lost a spatula. Nicknamed "spatsat" by space junk watchers, it will return to Earth in a fireball early next month.

This week the Atlantis astronauts made their own contributions to the space debris in low orbit when a couple of bolts escaped from the addition they were connecting to the International Space Station.

ESA Science & Technology: Space is big, but not big enough

According to Douglas Adams, in his famous book The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, space is big. However, it seems near-Earth space is not big enough. In December 2001, the Space Shuttle pushed the International Space Station away from a discarded Russian rocket booster that was due to pass uncomfortably close. Space litter is a growing problem but smarter satellite design may help in the future

MSW Management | Beyond The Pail

"Marking" litter is currently an especially acute problem in space. When we earthlings began our space exploration, we followed an age-old tradition. Pioneers and explorers have always done whatever it takes to "get there" the first time and have given little or no thought to what they leave behind or no thought at all to cleaning up after themselves. Note that the Mars record to date is that two out of every three "lander" missions have produced nothing but space junk!

When, however, standard roadside litter is compared to the discard of "official" EPA hazardous wastes - lead-acid car batteries or industrial canisters full of used solvents or nuclear wastes - many of us also believe that the litter we're used to seeing takes a secondary place.

But what happens to this view when items common in refuse and litter - such as French fries or plastic bags - get frozen solid and hit you or anything else at a speed of 20,000 ft/sec? If you are traveling in the same direction at the same speed, the litter will just float alongside; but if you are going at some other angle, and especially if you are moving in the opposite direction, it could shoot right through you! Ouch!

Japan Moves to Counter Space Debris (June 30, 1998)

Space is getting to be a crowded neighborhood. (Courtesy of NASDA)

Japan is taking steps to clean up the space debris that is hurtling around Earth at tremendous speeds, threatening to collide with satellites and render them useless. There are said to be about 35 million objects, large and small, that can be classified as space debris, including pieces of rockets and satellites launched in the past. Japan's countermeasures include construction of a facility to monitor debris by radar and a telescope to help skirt collisions. In the future, Japan hopes to apply its strength in unmanned robot technology to develop a satellite that could collect the litter flying around Earth.




Space Station

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