posted on Sep, 21 2006 @ 10:47 AM
Never fear, solidshot. The lawyers
will save us all.
Oh yeah, you heard me right. Most of the major organizations concerned with space activities (NASA, ESA, NORAD, etc.) have some sort of program to
track "space junk", but it seems that these efforts might not entirely altruistic. From the Physorg link above:
Not only can space junk damage or kill, you can get sued, too. There are lawyers who monitor space junk because there's a complex legal treaty
about who is responsible when the man-made debris cripples a satellite worth hundreds of millions of dollars, said Mark Matney, a scientist in the
orbital debris program at Johnson Space Center.
While the space junk that causes astronauts, astronomers, and lawyers the most severe migraines is certainly the small stuff (paint chips, bolts,
etc.), there are efforts under way to limit the amount of large junk that we see in the future. One such program is the
, which is being plugged by a company called Tethers Unlimited. Seems they want to attach
a relatively lightweight tether-release cylinder to every satellite launched in the future. When the satellite reaches the end of it's useful life a
5km-long tether is released. This tether interacts with the Earth's magnetic field to increase the total amount of drag on the satellite, slowly
dragging it into the atmosphere where it is destroyed.
[sarcasm] As for the smaller pieces, maybe I should look into investing in a company that makes really big nets... [/sarcasm]