Space junk blues

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by MrBishop, Feb 19, 2009.

  1. MrBishop

    MrBishop Well-Known Member


    A computer-generated pic of all the crap that's in Earth orbit right now.
    What this pic doesn't show is - what the hell we can do about it.

    Associated Press
  2. chcr

    chcr Too cute for words

    Big ass magnet?
  3. Professur

    Professur Well-Known Member

    i hate pictures like that, that distort and misrepresent the density of space junk.
  4. catocom

    catocom Well-Known Member

    I expect communication problems eventually.
    I think we're gonna see more collisions.
  5. MrBishop

    MrBishop Well-Known Member

    The density, perhaps...but not the volume of space junk out there.

    I'm surprised that there aren't more collisions.
  6. Professur

    Professur Well-Known Member

    That's because you don't understand just how insanely huge a space (pard'n the pun) you're dealing with. Standard orbit radius gives you an surface area of about four times the surface of the earth. If the entire population of the planet was to be transported en masse to equidistant points, evenly distributed about that area ... you`d never see another person. They'd be too far away. But then, it`s not even a plane, either, but a volume. So you'd need to match not only two dimensions, not even 3, but 4 dimensions to have one single collision.
  7. catocom

    catocom Well-Known Member

    that's just about the geekiest thing I've heard in a while.:D
  8. MrBishop

    MrBishop Well-Known Member

    These bits aren't equidistant, nor immobile. Few of the satellites in play are geosynchronous, and certainly none of the space-junk, not bits of damaged satellites.

    Most in the 'representation' are large enough to be tracked - most of the pieces of the accident aren't trackable - too damn small - but not so small that they can't badly damage other satellites, the Int'l space station, shuttles etc..should there be an impact.
  9. Altron

    Altron Well-Known Member

    It's very unlikeily for two things to hit... obviously, it happened, but it's not going to happen often.

    Those things up there have well defined trajectories with small variations in path. It's not a floating junkyard where things are bouncing off of each other. We've known how to calculate orbital paths for the past 400 years.

    I find that picture very hard to believe... if there was that much shit, we would have a noticeable decrease in the intensity of sunlight.

    The junk is very high up, and very fast, but it will eventually fall down low enough to get burnt up in the atmosphere. I'm going to guess that most of it dates back to the Space Race, when it was about launching satellites, not keeping them operational.
  10. catocom

    catocom Well-Known Member

    yeah I don't know if I buy the whole 'out of control' thing.
  11. MrBishop

    MrBishop Well-Known Member

    It's the most recent hit..but the only one? Hell, not one year ago, the Chinese tested their satellite killer missile on one of their 'non-operating' satellites.
  12. Professur

    Professur Well-Known Member

    Um, I hardly think that a deliberate targeted killer launch really comes into the conversation of space junk collisions.
  13. MrBishop

    MrBishop Well-Known Member

    It's not about's about space junk and potential damage caused by said orbiting debris. (To satellites, space stations, astronauts on space walks, telescopes like the Hubble and soon to be launched Kepler) etc..

    The sat-killer added to the number of orbiting a big way.
  14. Professur

    Professur Well-Known Member

    Dude, you really need to consider reading what you type. What potential damage is there without collissions ... if it's not about collisions?

    And as for the amount of debris .... a large amount of it headed straight down. A large amount headed straight up. Most of what didn't stayed pretty much where the original satelite was anyhow. What went down is going to reenter in short order. What went up ... for every mile up, there's another few hundred billion miles of nothingness for it to exist in a la solo. For what stuck around ... it was going to be there anyhow. The precious little that went sideways is now much smaller and much more subject to the solar wind and photonic pressure (you did know about them, didn't you?) and is the only real increase in debris that matters.
  15. MrBishop

    MrBishop Well-Known Member

    The thread isn't abut collisions (that have already happened), it's about the increased chances of future collisions due to the increasing number of junk in orbit...and what can be done about it.
  16. BeardofPants

    BeardofPants New Member

  17. Leslie

    Leslie Communistrator Staff Member

    We can always hope it all turns into pots of petunias.
  18. Altron

    Altron Well-Known Member

    Well, if we stop making new junk, the old junk will fall down.

    Prof - the acceleration due to photonic pressure is more of a function of mass and surface area than size. Small, dense particles will have less acceleration than large, light objects.
  19. catocom

    catocom Well-Known Member

    well, if there's enough junk, that takes out more sats, big bro is going
    to have a tough time with that.

    We need to keep land lines around.
  20. Luis G

    Luis G <i><b>Problemator</b></i> Staff Member

    I wonder how mankind was able to put in orbit pieces of junk bigger than a small country :confuse3:

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