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Real Threat: The Space Junk

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posted on Nov, 7 2009 @ 08:43 PM
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Starting out with a news video I watched on Fox about the issue of space junk in orbit and the potential problems this could bring to us as a species jacked into technology that relies on satellites 24/7; this is something that certainly needs to be taken into consideration and kept in mind for future events that could be classified by some on here as false flag attacks or the doom of the century.



The orbit around Earth is a very messy place and the Pentagon’s far-out research arm wants to do something about it. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency put out a notice yesterday requesting information on possible solutions to the infamous space debris problem.

“Since the advent of the space-age over five decades ago, more than thirty-five thousand man-made objects have been cataloged by the U.S. Space Surveillance Network,” the agency notes. “Nearly twenty-thousand of those objects remain in orbit today, ninety-four percent of which are non-functioning orbital debris.”


The United States Department of Defense has taken into account this issue and has begun a program to track all debris larger than 4 inches, this is a start but all that seems plausible right now is tracking as most ideas that are heard of right now are very costly to put it simply.



These satellites are traveling at tens of thousands of miles per hour, a single collision could be catastrophic with a small piece hitting something larger and shattering it, causing even more debris to form and go onto to pose even more risks to our orbital networks.

Many of the older satellites put into orbit in years past have had their locations lost and now we have to figure out where the heck they went to so we can at least know when and where this stuff might happen.



Everything from paint flecks to screwdrivers to tool bags to booster rocket parts" is orbiting the planet, notes Kaku, pointing out that if more satellites are damaged, communications could be set back 80 years or more.


If we don't do something about this then we are going to be hurting when it comes down to the general position of any country with reliance on satellites. The United States, Europe, Russia, China, Japan, etc. are all going to be hurting if we don't do something about this.

We need better regulations too when it comes to wanting to put up new satellites for upcoming nations so we don't worsen the problem for everyone.

This makes space travel all the harder if we want to just go for an expensive low orbit flight to feel weightless for a while. And think about our space programs and everything in general, the ISS and everything is going to be put in the dumpster if no solution is found.

Regular airline travel would be forced to a halt due to a lack of GPS tracking systems to keep large numbers of aircraft from flying into each other.



The tracking systems for counteracting against potential ICBMs would be restricted to short range and could put millions of lives more at risk due to a massive slash in our reaction time.

ATS could not work like it does, the different individuals from around the world could not come here and have our little discussions and debates all the time.

Any ideas ladies and gentlemen to try and combat this problem? I'm sure somebody here has something, there are plenty of people here with the expertise or at least some common sense for this.

Fox News Article

Pentagon and Space Junk Wired News

Edit 200911071958: Edited and replaced size of aircraft picture.

[edit on 7-11-2009 by spec_ops_wannabe]

[edit on 7-11-2009 by spec_ops_wannabe]




posted on Nov, 7 2009 @ 09:11 PM
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reply to post by spec_ops_wannabe
 


S & F

and...

It will only get worse. Can't imagine how it's going to be once the Chinese and Indians get up there in force.

NASA Tracks Chinese Satellite Debris Headed Near Space Station

NASA is tracking a piece of leftover space junk from a 2007 Chinese anti-satellite test that is expected to fly near the International Space Station twice on Wednesday, a day after the shuttle Discovery leaves the orbiting lab.

The satellite debris is expected to come within 31 miles (50 km) of the space station at about 4:30 a.m. EDT (0830 GMT) Wednesday morning, then zip around again two hours later to pass within 15 miles (25 km), NASA officials said.



posted on Nov, 7 2009 @ 09:34 PM
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Would i be right in assuming that the majority of the space debris is metallic in composition ?

Perhaps a large electromagnet could lessen the debris field . Even still , that is quite an expansive area to tidy up , they will certainly have to complete a thorough survey before attempting any clean up.



posted on Nov, 7 2009 @ 09:54 PM
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reply to post by UmbraSumus
 


Yes, the majority of it is most likely metallic but a lot of it's going to be lighter materials like aluminum or brass which I expect would require a greater charge to attract it.
Maybe we could somehow make the materials heavier by seeding them with mercury or something heavy that can attract to them? This is going to be a very complicated process as we certainly can't just go blasting them out of the sky.



posted on Nov, 7 2009 @ 10:07 PM
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Everywhere we go we leave rubbish.

From the bottom of our deepest oceans to the tops of our highest mountains and now into space.

Is this the legacy the human race will leave the universe? Rubbish?

Sorry...this just really disappoints me.



posted on Nov, 7 2009 @ 10:32 PM
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As I've been researching further into this tonight, I've come across a few things with NASA doing some more stuff to try and help prevent some of these hazards from forming in the future, although in my humble opinion it may be a little too late.

NASA

Looking through this article from Space.com it seems they are more concerned about preventing explosions which can be understood but still leaves the problem of the space junk intact.



posted on Nov, 7 2009 @ 10:35 PM
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MMOD (Micro Meteorite and Orbital Debris) protection is used on the space station modules and it comprises a surprisingly large percentage of the structural weight and volume. The MMOD is up to 1 ft. in thickness over critical areas such as pressurized modules or fuel tanks.

Here's what even something as small as a fleck of paint can due to the space shuttle's (very tough) windows in an orbital velocity impact:

www.nasa.gov...

Space is a big place, but most of the man-made space junk is orbiting within about 200 miles of the earth.

riff_raff



posted on Nov, 8 2009 @ 12:24 AM
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ISS and More Space Debris



Ongoing analysis of the trajectory of a piece of space junk that was believed to pose a possible threat to the International Space Station showed the debris would not pass close enough to the lab complex to force the crew to seek refuge in their Soyuz lifeboats, a NASA official said late Friday.

An agency spokesman said the station's six-member crew would be awakened early, at 10 p.m. EST as planned, but the astronauts would be told to go back to bed and not to press ahead with a tentative plan to shelter in place aboard the station's Soyuz ferry craft.


Here is some more of the ongoing risks overhead of us for the ISS. Keep in mind this one in particular turned out to be a false alarm as noted at the bottom of the article in the update.



posted on Nov, 8 2009 @ 12:28 AM
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reply to post by eternal_vigilance
 


So true,

Humans fill the world with junk.

We are so destructive and it upsets me as well.

And what do we get by filling everywhere with junk? Our own destruction.
Which we deserve as a species.



posted on Nov, 8 2009 @ 12:32 AM
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reply to post by spec_ops_wannabe
 


S & F.

This is of huge concern.

I hope we can clear up the junk.



posted on Nov, 8 2009 @ 12:33 AM
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post removed for serious violation of ATS Terms & Conditions



posted on Nov, 8 2009 @ 02:02 PM
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Here is the video which prompted me to looking into this issue:



Enjoy.



posted on Nov, 9 2009 @ 09:41 PM
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Very enlightening issue, one that should have been addressed prior to any space launch activities by our US governemnt and all nations who wish to have space operations.

From what I know, not only are foreign sats an issue, but micro aka nano meteors are an issue. Combine man made space debris with natural and we have a hell of a dangerous enviornment up there.

Take into account the varied altitudes and one can imagine the "belts" of sats and debris from space ops. It is becomeing a garbage heap, and it could have been prevented.

I said it years ago, the ISS should be a recycling based platform. Simular platforms could be fabricated by using the spent fuel and other resource containiers already in orbit.

Construction material is available up there, we only need to co ordinate with the internation space program to take advantage of it.
If only the concept of recycled material in space was taken more seriously. We as a planetary race of humans could have prevented the whole mess we created...

I would be very open to a Research Project by serious members in regards to this sunject.

Outstanding SOW for bringing this to our collective attention!




posted on Nov, 9 2009 @ 10:25 PM
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Now I would ask... if NASA's new Ares/Constellation rocket program back to the Moon (and to Mars), will add any additional debris to the existing mess? Or perhaps ejected rocket stages, left in space to become future "Mystery Objects" like (supposedly) that of thread "Mystery Object Discovered in Earths Orbit"? www.abovetopsecret.com...



posted on Nov, 9 2009 @ 11:06 PM
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Extra, extra! Here's some more from Space.com on this continuing and increasingly risky issue. Sooner we act the less it will hurt us.

US Decades Behind on Space Debris



The amount of junk floating in space is getting out of hand and the United States must step up its effort to control orbital trash, experts are saying.

The chief of U.S. Strategic Command said Wednesday that America needs better tools to monitor the orbital debris that's up there and plan to avoid collisions with valuable satellites.

"We are decades behind where we should be, in my view," said Air Force Gen. Kevin P. Chilton in a speech at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. Chilton called for more personnel and more sensors and equipment to study and combat the threat.

There are about 800 satellites in orbit now, and more than 20,000 pieces of debris in total, including bits of dead satellites and spent rockets, as well as more eccentric items like loose gloves and tools that slipped away from astronauts on spacewalks. And it's only likely to get worse as more satellites are launched into the increasingly crowded orbital corridors of space.

"Space situational awareness is no different than the situational awareness that we demand in any other domain," Chilton said. "And we do not provide that in an adequate fashion to my component commander in charge of space operations for the United States of America."

Just today NASA announced that astronauts onboard the station may have to board their Russian Soyuz spacecraft lifeboats Friday evening as a safety precaution in case they must evacuate because of a space junk impact. A small piece of debris appears poised to fly within 1,640 feet (500 meters) of the orbiting laboratory Friday night at 10:48 EST (0348 Saturday GMT).

Though an actual impact is unlikely, the agency says, astronauts must be prepared when any debris comes too close for comfort.

Crowded skies

Scientists agree. A recent study calculated that "close encounters" between satellites and debris in orbit will rise by 50 percent in the next 10 years, and by 250 percent by 2059, to more than 50,000 a week, according to Reuters.

"The time to act is now, before the situation gets too difficult to control," study leader Hugh Lewis of the University of Southampton told Reuters. "The number of objects in orbit is going to go up, and there will be impacts from that."

The seriousness of the situation was made apparent earlier this year when two communications satellites accidentally slammed into each other, creating two huge new clouds of shrapnel floating in orbit. China also created a good chunk of debris in 2007 when it purposefully destroyed one of its orbiting satellites in an anti-satellite test.

Rising costs

Indeed, many satellite operators are noticing the problem. The commercial imaging satellite company GeoEye has had to maneuver some of its spacecraft several times to avoid colliding with space junk, according to SPACE.com partner Space News. The company was forced to move its 10-year-old Ikonos satellite seven times to evade debris.

These maneuvers are time-consuming and costly, requiring extra fuel and expert personnel to plot a safe course through space. And using up a satellite's precious fuel resources to avoid collisions shortens its useful lifespan.

Space junk is also a critical concern for human space exploration, where not just money but lives are on the line. NASA scrupulously monitors the field for any objects that might pose a risk to the International Space Station and shuttle crews.


So there we have some more, I especially like this quote here in particular:


Scientists agree. A recent study calculated that "close encounters" between satellites and debris in orbit will rise by 50 percent in the next 10 years, and by 250 percent by 2059, to more than 50,000 a week, according to Reuters.



posted on Nov, 9 2009 @ 11:15 PM
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To expand upon the data collected by the study, the head of the project is known as Dr Hugh Lewis of the University of Southampton.
There seems to be a good bit of research this man has been doing into this subject for the past decade it would seem.

Dr Hugh Lewis



Publications
Bailey, N.J., Swinerd, G.G., Morley, A.D. and Lewis, H.G (2007) Near Earth object impact simulation tool for supporting the NEO mitigation decision making process. In, Near Earth Objects, Our Celestial Neighbors: Opportunity and Risk, IAU Symposium No. 236, Prague, Czech Republic, 14-18 August, 2006. .
Lewis, H.G., Atkinson, P.M. and Woodcock, C.E. (2007) Exploring a new method for retaining maximum information content in MODIS imagery. In, Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society (RSPSoc) Annual Conference, Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK, 5-8 Sep 2006. UK, , 9pp.
Nguyen, M.Q., Atkinson, P.M. and Lewis, H.G. (2007) Multispectral image super-resolution using the Hopfield neural network with forward model and semivariogram matching. In, Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society (RSPSoc) Annual Conference, Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK, 5-8 Sep, 2006. UK, , 9pp.
pdf Minh, N., Atkinson, P.M. and Lewis, H.G. (2006) Superresolution mapping using a hopfield neural network with fused images. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 44, (3), 736-749. (doi:10.1109/TGRS.2005.861752)
Bevington, J.S., Lewis, H.G. and Atkinson, P.M. (2006) Quantifying gradual and sudden change using remotely sensed imagery. In, Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society (RSPSoc) Annual Conference, Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 5-8 Sep 2006. UK, , 9pp.
Dasmahapatra, Srinandan, Dupplaw, David, Hu, Bo, Lewis, Paul, Shadbolt, Nigel and Lewis, Hugh (2006) Facilitating multi-disciplinary, knowledge-based support for breast cancer screening. International Journal of Healthcare Technology and Management, 7, (5), 403-420.
pdf Nguyen, Minh Q., Atkinson, Peter M. and Lewis, Hugh G. (2006) Superresolution mapping using a Hopfield neural network with fused images. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 44, (3), 736-749. (doi: 10.1109/TGRS.2005.861752)
Lewis, H.G., Swinerd, G.G., Ellis, C.S. and Martin, C.E. (2005) Response of the space debris environment to greenhouse cooling. At, Fourth European Conference on Space Debris, Darmstadt, Germany, 18-20 Apr 2005. .
Nguyen, Minh Q., Atkinson, Peter M. and Lewis, Hugh G. (2005) Superresolution mapping using a Hopfield neural network with lidar data. IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters, 2, (3), 366-370. (doi:10.1109/LGRS.2005.851551)
Saunders, C.J., Martin, C.E. and Lewis, H.G. (2005) Disposal orbit characteristics for Galileo including orbit propagation techniques. In, Proceedings of the 4th European Conference Space Debris., Eurpoean Space Agency, 685-688.
Stevenage, Sarah and Lewis, Hugh (2005) By which name should I call thee? The consequences of having multiple names. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology: Section A, 58, (8), 1447-1461. (doi:10.1080/02724980443000692)
Gittins, G.L., Swinerd, G.G., Lewis, H.G. and Williams, D.N. (2004) A study of debris impact collision probabilities to space tethers. Advances in Space Research, 34, (5), 1080-1084. (doi:10.1016/j.asr.2003.01.013)
Lewis, H.G., Swinerd, G.G. and Channer, S.E. (2004) Collision risk analysis for spaceborne interferometric SAR systems. In, Bendisch, Joerg (ed.) Space Debris and Space Traffic Management 2004., American Astronautical Society, 371-384. (Science and Technology Series 110).
Lewis, H.G., Swinerd, G.G., Martin, C.E. and Campbell, W.S. (2004) The stability of disposal orbits at super-synchronous altitudes. Acta Astronautica, 55, (3-9), 299-310. (doi:10.1016/j.actaastro.2004.05.022)
Swinerd, Graham, Lewis, Hugh, Williams, Neil and Martin, Clare (2004) Self-induced collision hazard in high and moderate inclination satellite constellations. Acta Astronautica, 54, (3), 191-201. (doi:10.1016/S0094-5765(02)00290-4)
Williams, D.N., Swinerd, G.G., Lewis, H.G. and Gittins, G. (2004) A new fast cloud propagator for use in the GEO regime. Advances in Space Research, 34, (5), 1181-1187. (doi: 10.1016/j.asr.2003.02.033)
Lewis, H.G. and Swinerd, G.G. (2003) Comparison of methods for predicting collision risk. In, 54th International Astronautical Congress of the International Astronautical Federation, the International Academy of Astronautics, and the International Institute of Space Law, Bremen, Germany, 29 Sep - 3 Oct 2003. Bremen, Germany, AIAA American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Lewis, H.G. and Swinerd, G.G. (2003) Comparison of methods for predicting collision risk. In, Bendisch, Joerg (ed.) Space debris and space traffic management 2003. California, USA, American Astronautical Society, 207-226. (Science and Technology Series 109).
Lewis, H.G., Swinerd, G.G., Martin, C.E. and Campbell, W.S. (2003) The stability of disposal orbits at super-synchronous altitudes. In, New Opportunities for Space. Selected Proceedings of the 54th International Astronautical Federation Congress, Bremen, Germany, 29 Sep - 3 Oct 2003. Bremen, Germany, Acta Astronautica, 12pp, 299-310.
Lewis, H.G., Swinerd, G.G., Martin, C.E. and Campbell, W.S. (2003) The stability of disposal orbits at super-synchronous altitudes. In, Bendisch, Joerg (ed.) Space debris and space traffic management 2003. California, USA, American Astronutical Society, 151-166. (Science and Technology Series 109).
Tatem, A.J., Lewis, H.G., Atkinson, P.M. and Nixon, M.S. (2003) Increasing the spatial resolution of agricultural land cover maps using a Hopfield neural network. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 17, (7), 647-672. (doi:10.1080/1365881031000135519)
Tatem, A.J., Lewis, H.G., Atkinson, P.M. and Nixon, M.S. (2002) Super-resolution land cover mapping from remotely-sensed imagery using a Hopfield neural network. In, Foody, Giles M. and Atkinson, Peter M. (eds.) Uncertainty in Remote Sensing and GIS. Chichester, UK, John Wiley & Sons, 77-98.
Tatem, A.J., Lewis, H.G., Atkinson, P.M. and Nixon, M.S. (2002) Super-resolution land cover pattern prediction using a Hopfield neural network. Remote Sensing of Environment, 79, 1-14. (doi:10.1016/S0034-4257(01)00229-2)
Lewis, Hugh G., Swinerd, Graham, Williams, Neil and Gittins, Gavin (2002) Investigating the long-term evolution of the debris environment in high Earth orbit using the DAMAGE model. In, Space Debris 2001., American Astronautical Society, 167-180. (Science and Technology Series, 105 105).
Tatem, A.J., Lewis, H.G., Atkinson, P.M. and Nixon, M.S. (2002) Super-resolution land cover pattern prediction using a Hopfield neural network. Remote Sensing of Environment, 79, (1), 1-14. (doi:10.1016/S0034-4257(01)00229-2)
Williams, D. Neil, Swinerd, Graham G., Lewis, Hugh G. and Gittins, Gavin (2002) A sensitivity analysis of breakup models. In, Bendisch, J. (ed.) Proceedings of the Space Debris Sessions from a Symposium of the International Academy of Astronautics held in conjunction with the 52nd International Astronautical Federation Congress, October 1-5, 2001, Toulouse, France. San Diego, USA, American Astronautical Society, 97-115. (Science and Technology Series, 105).
Williams, D.N., Swinerd, G.G., Lewis, H.G. and Gittins, G.L. (2002) A new fast cloud propagator for use in the GEO regime. In, IAF COSPAR 2002: 34th Committee on Space Research Scientific Assembly: 2nd World Space Congress, Houston, USA, 10-19 Oct 2002. , 6pp.

Anyone care to sift through this for us? Most of them are research papers and the like. It's going to take a bit of searching to get some of the stuff he's done off the internet.



posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 07:49 AM
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WOW.

How in the world did we manage to get that many satellites up in orbit?

I am surprised we haven't had massive wipe out of communications



posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 08:01 AM
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Apparently there seems to be waste radiation up there as well from nuclear detonations so there are radiation rings which are a hazard to space travel as well.



Explosion Date Yield (approximate) Altitude (km) Nation of Origin
Hardtack Teak 1958-08-01 3.8 megatons 76.8 United States
Hardtck Orange 1958-08-12 3.8 megatons 43 United States
Argus I 1958-08-27 1-2 kilotons 200 United States
Argus II 1958-08-30 1-2 kilotons 256 United States
Argus III 1958-09-06 1-2 kilotons 539 United States
Starfish Prime 1962-07-09 1.4 megatons 400 United States
K-3 1962-10-22 300 kilotons 290 USSR
K-4 1962-10-28 300 kilotons 150 USSR
K-5 1962-11-01 300 kilotons 59 USSR


Unfortunately I don't have solid sourcing for this piece of information other than grabbing it from a discussion board on Facebook so it'll have to be sought out someplace.



posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 10:49 AM
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Anyone have any idea how we could get this stuff down? Eventually it will build up to such an extent that we won't even be able to fly shuttles through it anymore. Or maybe we could end up using it as some sort of defense barrier against asteroids.



posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 09:42 PM
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This article just from a few hours ago states that the astronauts aboard the ISS did indeed now end up sleeping in the Soyuz escape pods due to debris.

Space Junk, Astronauts and Soyuz



Astronauts aboard the ISS were forced to sleep in Russian Soyuz escape pods due to a piece of flying debris

A small piece of space debris flew near the International Space Station (ISS) late last week, with ground control flight operators instructing ISS astronauts to hide in escape crafts.

The six-person crew aboard the ISS first learned of the debris early on Friday morning. Since it proved so difficult to monitor it using satellite and ground-based technology, NASA said the piece of debris likely was extremely small.

Due to the space debris, the crew had to sleep in two Russian Soyuz craft designed to be escape pods -- the actual trajectory of the debris was unknown, causing even more alarm from mission operators.

It turned out, according to space officials, that the debris didn't come close to the ISS after all, but the decision to order the crew into the Soyuz escape craft was still a good idea.

As the number of floating space junk increases, the possibility of impact with the ISS, satellites or manned missions has increased. The ISS has been forced to undergo avoidance maneuvers in the past, but this may become an issue that is even more serious in the future.

The United States Air Force announced early last spring it would set aside $500 million in 2010 to help track space junk floating around Earth. NASA officials also again said the threat of space junk would continue to increase unless space experts came up with methods to stop it.



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