Over geological times they will coalesce and form junk rings around planet earth.
How? What's the physical mechanism for changing the angular momentum?
Gravitational attraction, the same force that formed the natural ring
systems on the gas giants in our solar system, would tend to make this happen. You don't get a change in angular momentum unless you have a collision
which can create debris, but since that's part of what this thread is about, collisions could happen. The ring forming effect tends to flatten the
orbits into a flat disk without changing the angular momentum in the absence of collisions. There is already a ring at geostationary altitude as seen
The ring will spread out partly as a result of the 2002 US regulation requiring geostationary and geosynchronous satellites to get a roughly 300km
altitude boost at the end of their life, which doesn't always happen.
With the vast majority of space junk in "Low Earth Orbit" (at least it looks that way on the space junk maps), LEO satellites will enter the Earth's
atmosphere before rings form.
If there are enough geosynchronous and geostationary satellites boosted 250-400 km at the end of their life into graveyard orbits, and I suspect there
will be, it might be possible for a ring system to form from those dead satellites, even more defined than the ring system already seen.
vacuum would not be nice, haha that is for sure. All the accounts iv read are nowhere near the brutal eye/body explosions that are shown in the media.
The process would be painful and likely kill you should you be exposed for a period of time, but it isn't the graphic death that has been shown by the
media for years.
I used to think the "Total Recall" scene on Mars, which has 1% of Earth's atmosphere, was pretty fake, but if it had been a
total vacuum it might not be as far off as I thought after reading this pretty good source about vacuum effects:
Human Exposure to the Vacuum of Space
research, conducted during the 1950s and 1960s, concluded that a human exposed to a vacuum will remain conscious for ten to fifteen seconds and
can survive for up to 90 seconds with relatively minor and reversible side effects. The exact limits are unknown, but death is believed to be
unavoidable after two to four minutes of exposure. Contrary to depictions in many other popular movies, a person exposed to the vacuum of space does
not instantly pass out or freeze to death, the body does not explode, and blood does not boil.
...Shortly after losing consciousness, the body will experience paralysis followed by convulsions and finally paralysis again. Water vapor also begins
forming in soft tissue causing the body to swell, perhaps to as much as twice its normal volume if not constrained by a suit. Over the next 30 to 60
seconds, heart rate slows, blood pressure drops, and blood circulation stops. Gases and water vapor rapidly escape through the mouth and nose causing
these parts of the body to drop to near freezing temperatures. The rest of the body cools more slowly.
Dramatics aside, the "twice its normal
volume if not constrained by a suit" is probably about how much the bodies swelled up when exposed to Mars atmosphere in "Total Recall", from the
formation of water vapor in tissues containing water.
Apparently this was Joe Kittinger's experience with his hand:
Another brush with low pressure occurred in 1960 when Joe Kittinger made his record-breaking skydive from an altitude of over 100,000 ft (30,480
m). The right hand of Kittinger's suit sprung a leak while he was ascending in a balloon resulting in a painful swelling in his hand. Kittinger later
said that his hand had swollen to twice its normal size and was completely useless. Despite the stiffness and loss of circulation, however, Kittinger
continued his flight and his hand had returned to normal about three hours after landing back on the ground.
I am also not entirely sure without doing some roche limit calculations for the Earth along with knowledge of where the satellites are mainly in
relation to it, of how some of this would play out. The time scales for the formation of a disk however is a long one.
I'm not sure where
you're going with the Roche limit calculations, but if you look at Saturn there's just a gap in the rings at Saturn's Roche limit. There are plenty of
rings both "above" and "below" the Roche limit/Roche gap of Saturn (Here are David Darling's Roche limit figures for Earth, Saturn, etc:
) The Roche limit for Earth given by Darling is roughly half the altitude for
edit on 23-2-2014 by Arbitrageur because: clarification