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How would you get rid of space junk?

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posted on Jul, 30 2009 @ 02:19 PM
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You seem to be overlooking one gigantic, very obvious 800-lb gorilla in the room.

There is No Need to
Clean Up Space Junk.

You have to understand that 16000 pieces of manmade junk in orbit of the earth don't amount to diddly squat. You could fit all of the manmade space junk up there into an area the size of a single football field.

Have you ever seen a football field from 35,000 feet up? It's practically invisible, it's so small.

So, what we have is a tiny, tiny amount of manmade debris — the majority of which is comprised of ultralight synthetic materials and space-age alloys — spread out over millions and millions and millions of square miles of space.

If you went up there right now and stayed all day at one geosynchronous coordinate above the Earth, with a set of marine binoculars, you would not see a scrap of space junk.

That's how widely dispersed the junk is.

You may as well be searching for a needle orbiting in earth space.

By comparison, several hundred tons of totally natural meteoric debris falls on the Earth every day. Yet we only rarely catch a glimpse of a meteor.

Space, even near-Earth space, is an enormous place. You could dump 16,000 Cadillacs into random orbits of the Earth, and you'd only catch a glimpse of one every once in a while, maybe very early in the morning when it catches the sunlight for a few moments.

The illusion that it's a cluttered junkyard up there comes from the stupid animations you keep seeing on The Science Channel or one of those other "edutainment" outlets.

Just keep telling yourself, "Everything on TV is a Lie. Everything on TV is a Lie," and eventually your perspective will heal itself.


— Doc Velocity






[edit on 7/30/2009 by Doc Velocity]




posted on Jul, 30 2009 @ 02:28 PM
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I believe that it is the dust that is the concern.

It could be interesting in that if they can figure out how to exit the atmosphere and "push" away any such dust, fragments, particles out of the way so that they don't cause a potential problem.....well that would be the beginning of figuring out how to fly between points in the solar system without rupturing your hull by hitting debris. Particularly if they figure out high speed travel.

Just saying. That figuring it out might not be about cleaning up the upper atmosphere.



posted on Jul, 30 2009 @ 02:33 PM
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I think it would be easiest to build something that knocks them into the atmosphere sooner that way they will burn up.

The question is what though and even then I imagine it's a huge job.



posted on Jul, 30 2009 @ 02:58 PM
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use magnetic force to attract all the debris to one location and launch it toward a distant sun (or our own, depending on the safety concerns)



posted on Jul, 30 2009 @ 03:17 PM
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Originally posted by Doc Velocity
You seem to be overlooking one gigantic, very obvious 800-lb gorilla in the room.

There is No Need to
Clean Up Space Junk.

You have to understand that 16000 pieces of manmade junk in orbit of the earth don't amount to diddly squat. You could fit all of the manmade space junk up there into an area the size of a single football field.



That's just dumb - real dumb.

Your intendind to put billions of dollers of new kit into the heavens - some of it containg the finest meatbags space agencies can lay their hands on and then a 20 cent bolt moving at speeds that would make a rifle bullet look like a fat kids pops through and through in a very difficult place to patch up....

You do the maths.

and impacts do happen - even the grit up there is so abrasive that the shiny hubble scope was sand blasted when NASA got up there to fix it - a few months ago a peice of junk had the ISS crew in the escape capsule ready to punch out... Now remember that thing only holds 3!!! - there are more than 3 on that bird usually!!

Dumb de dumb dumb dumb dum!

(sorry to be personal - hope you take it in jest
)



posted on Jul, 30 2009 @ 03:48 PM
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I don't take it personally. If I did, I would reply with some sort of cruel invective that would leave you near tears — and I don't believe in taunting or punishing the retarded.

Fact is, you don't know what the hell you're talking about, your understanding of planetary space (and probably of Science in general) is based on the absurd Discovery Channel CGI animation you watch on television, or perhaps on space fantasy flicks such as Star Wars... Spaceships dodging asteroids and similar garbage.

If there was such a high risk of collision with "space debris," NASA would have given up in the early 1960s, dummy. The fact is that NASA considers debris impact an acceptable risk — safe enough to risk billions of dollars in equipment and dozens of human lives on a regular basis — which means the risk is very low.

A tiny piece of loose foam insulation on the launch pad poses more risk to a manned mission than all of the space junk and meteors that don't come within a hundred miles of any given mission.

The most dangerous aspect of any manned mission is always liftoff, escaping the Earth's gravity. Everything after that is a comparative cake-walk. Colliding with space debris is the least of NASA's worries.

You have a greater chance of being eaten alive by a great white shark while simultaneously being struck by lightning while simultaneously winning the lottery than you have of ever colliding with something in the immense vastness of space.

So here's 25 cents. Go buy yourself an education.


— Doc Velocity



posted on Jul, 31 2009 @ 01:48 AM
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Originally posted by Doc Velocity
I don't take it personally. If I did, I would reply with some sort of cruel invective that would leave you near tears — and I don't believe in taunting or punishing the retarded.

Fact is, you don't know what the hell you're talking about, your understanding of planetary space (and probably of Science in general) is based on the absurd Discovery Channel CGI animation you watch on television, or perhaps on space fantasy flicks such as Star Wars... Spaceships dodging asteroids and similar garbage.

If there was such a high risk of collision with "space debris," NASA would have given up in the early 1960s, dummy. The fact is that NASA considers debris impact an acceptable risk — safe enough to risk billions of dollars in equipment and dozens of human lives on a regular basis — which means the risk is very low.

A tiny piece of loose foam insulation on the launch pad poses more risk to a manned mission than all of the space junk and meteors that don't come within a hundred miles of any given mission.

The most dangerous aspect of any manned mission is always liftoff, escaping the Earth's gravity. Everything after that is a comparative cake-walk. Colliding with space debris is the least of NASA's worries.

You have a greater chance of being eaten alive by a great white shark while simultaneously being struck by lightning while simultaneously winning the lottery than you have of ever colliding with something in the immense vastness of space.

So here's 25 cents. Go buy yourself an education.


— Doc Velocity


Thats all good and well but what facts are you basing your theory on, do you work for NASA? How do you know the odds of hitting debris?

Do you have some sort of formula that you have worked out?

Space Debris is a problem, if it wasn't they wouldn't offer millions of dollars for a sollution.






posted on Jul, 31 2009 @ 02:03 AM
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Originally posted by halfmanhalfamazing

Originally posted by Doc Velocity
I don't take it personally. If I did, I would reply with some sort of cruel invective that would leave you near tears — and I don't believe in taunting or punishing the retarded.

Fact is, you don't know what the hell you're talking about, your understanding of planetary space (and probably of Science in general) is based on the absurd Discovery Channel CGI animation you watch on television, or perhaps on space fantasy flicks such as Star Wars... Spaceships dodging asteroids and similar garbage.

If there was such a high risk of collision with "space debris," NASA would have given up in the early 1960s, dummy. The fact is that NASA considers debris impact an acceptable risk — safe enough to risk billions of dollars in equipment and dozens of human lives on a regular basis — which means the risk is very low.

A tiny piece of loose foam insulation on the launch pad poses more risk to a manned mission than all of the space junk and meteors that don't come within a hundred miles of any given mission.

The most dangerous aspect of any manned mission is always liftoff, escaping the Earth's gravity. Everything after that is a comparative cake-walk. Colliding with space debris is the least of NASA's worries.

You have a greater chance of being eaten alive by a great white shark while simultaneously being struck by lightning while simultaneously winning the lottery than you have of ever colliding with something in the immense vastness of space.

So here's 25 cents. Go buy yourself an education.


— Doc Velocity


Thats all good and well but what facts are you basing your theory on, do you work for NASA? How do you know the odds of hitting debris?

Do you have some sort of formula that you have worked out?

Space Debris is a problem, if it wasn't they wouldn't offer millions of dollars for a sollution.




Doc Velocity ...actually fact is that you dont have a clue what you are talking about....since 1983....Nasa had to replace the space shuttle's windows everytime because of debris that cracket it or made a little crater....that fact of the matter is that space junk is a problem. we have a magazine in South Africa called Popular Mechanics...which has an aritcle on this in the August edition...it is said that two satellite's collided in space, which was wierd..and more of this could trigger a chain reaction(i cannot remember the exact termonology that NASA goves this reaction...will look it up)(even with current space junk colliding with each other) of collisions which will just amplify...and this could put Hubble(@400km orbit) in a spot of bother and eventually the space station which is 800km up in orbit. get the facts straight....
oh..and ps...getting out of orbit(escaping grabity) has for long now not been a problem for NASA...getting more effecient, cost effective ways of doing it is.
theres 25 cents right back at ya!

[edit on 31-7-2009 by GerhardSA]



posted on Jul, 31 2009 @ 02:07 AM
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reply to post by revdrdrsunshine
 


We're talking about an enormous area. Sixteen thousand chunks of junk? The earth's surface is 197,060,800 square miles, and that number just keeps getting bigger the higher you go, to say nothing of all the vertical space.

Finding and collecting a chunk the size of a large building (assuming any were up there) would be a monumental undertaking. Finding assorted loose screws, rivets, tiles, and Laika-kibble out there is going to be pretty much impossible. Best bet is to sit tight for a few years and let gravity do its thing.



posted on Jul, 31 2009 @ 02:14 AM
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Surely it'd be possible to create orbiting metal detectors with attached magnets of some sort...?



posted on Jul, 31 2009 @ 02:30 AM
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I agree with what a few others have said - it's not like near-Earth space is a landfill. Scatter a truckload of neutrally-buoyant items around the size of a cell phone in the Pacific and you'll have the same effect. The amount of junk floating around wouldn't justify wasting billions of dollars, manhours, and resources cleaning it up. Also, the impact issue isn't that big of a problem. Sure, a bolt zooming towards a space shuttle could potentially kill everyone on board, but you have the same chance of doing that as you do throwing a pebble off the top of the Grand Canyon while blindfolded and hitting an ant at the bottom.

If and when near-Earth space becomes so cluttered that space travel becomes dangerous and detecting incoming objects (meteors, etc...) becomes difficult then the method to clean it up should somehow involve returning it to Earth. What's the point in wasting it? Attaching electromagnets or some sort of locally-generated gravity (assuming we ever figure out how to do that) to some sort of returnable space vehicle would do the trick just fine.



posted on Jul, 31 2009 @ 02:50 AM
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reply to post by anonymouse876
 


Yes, but if you are throwing 16,000 rocks of the grand canyon every 8 hours odds are really good you will hit that ant in the near future.



posted on Jul, 31 2009 @ 03:09 AM
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Space junk not a issue...sure
look at me..



posted on Jul, 31 2009 @ 03:48 AM
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To be fair, 16,000 peices is not a whole lot. Consider that the radius from the centre of the Earth is significantly higher, while in orbit. Therefore, these debris are scattered around an area signficantly higher than the entire surface of the Earth, and furthermore at different altitudes and inclinations. To top it off, orbital velocities are usually 25,000km/h+... simply put - how are you going to capture objects travelling so fast throughout such a huge area? How do you stop something that could potentially be moving towards you at 50,000km/h (14 kilometres per second)? To protect spacecraft from spacejunk, put them in different orbits compared to the larger stuff, add a light, aerogel shield to prevent smaller damage, and also use ground based tracking that calculated to risk of a collision, datalink it to satellites that automatically initiate a burn if an imminent collision is detected though this is somewhat futuristic and unnessesary.

[edit on 31/7/2009 by C0bzz]



posted on Jul, 31 2009 @ 03:53 AM
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Originally posted by C0bzz
How do you stop something that could potentially be moving towards you at 50,000km/h (14 kilometres per second).

[edit on 31/7/2009 by C0bzz]


You dont stop it... you join it.

If you can design something that can join these objects in orbit and achieve

the same speeds they could attach themselves to these pieces of debris, and

then... reverse thrust?

Im no scientist, would this work anyone?



posted on Jul, 31 2009 @ 04:18 AM
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Originally posted by halfmanhalfamazing

Originally posted by C0bzz
How do you stop something that could potentially be moving towards you at 50,000km/h (14 kilometres per second).

[edit on 31/7/2009 by C0bzz]


You dont stop it... you join it.

If you can design something that can join these objects in orbit and achieve

the same speeds they could attach themselves to these pieces of debris, and

then... reverse thrust?

Im no scientist, would this work anyone?

Problem is, all the objects are seperated by massive amounts of space, and each is at a different altitude, in a different direction, in a different orbit and all are travelling at thousands of kilometres per hour. To rendezvous with an object you practically have to match its altitude, direction, and orbit - therefore, practically this process will only limited to a couple of peices of space junk per flight, as the rest of the peices will require way too much energy to reach.

Ion thrusters are probably too weak for real maneuvering (though that could change), and we cannot track the objects accurately enough. And we cannot just smash into an object - then we have little bits everywhere. Also every new space launch adds space debris - for example, if a bit of ice forms on the rocket from the sub-zero temperature fuel, if that seperates then there will now be water zooming around up there. I say, leave the junk up there till proper solution is found. Better yet, prevent our space infrastructure from getting in harms way by placing them at slightly different orbits compared to other junk. And yes implement limits to prevent further junk being put of there.

[edit on 31/7/2009 by C0bzz]



posted on Jul, 31 2009 @ 04:22 AM
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reply to post by C0bzz
 


Agree, doesn't seem like a sollution, guess thats why they are offering sooo... much money....

thanks



posted on Aug, 1 2009 @ 05:47 AM
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basicly, i'd send a giant garbage truck up there to collect the waste. Then when its back on earth i'd have it dump the crap on the white house lawn.



posted on Aug, 1 2009 @ 05:56 AM
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The answer to this question is found in the movie "Spaceballs". What we need is a giant 'space maid' with a giant vacuum cleaner or how about a giant piece of "fly paper" that junk sticks to? I personally like the giant vacuum cleaner myself.



posted on Aug, 1 2009 @ 06:35 AM
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Design a Supercomputer that can control "Mass" then use this to make the Sun launch CME's occasionally that will raise the Earths atmospheric region briefly and cause drag on the LEO debris. This in turn will burn up more than half of the debris circling Earth, and cause the rest to fling off into space. (we could argue that were cause space hazards then for future missions, but we already have this with micro-meteors/meteorites anyway.)




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