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What can be done about space pollution and how will it affect us in the future?

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sachhyam hada

on 31 May 2011

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Transcript of What can be done about space pollution and how will it affect us in the future?

What is it? What can we do about space pollution and how it will affect us in the future Space Pollution is bits and pieces of old satellites, Rocket stages and some space collision pieces left over by humans. These objects are dangerous as they hang around orbiting at low earth orbit (LEO) making it a threat and affecting NASA's Space Exploration. Ideas to get rid of it: Use Lasers to vaporise it or help point the debris down so it can burn up in the atmosphere Carry up water cannons on space missions spray water on the space debris to slowly push the space debris down so it can burn up in the atmosphere or land where it would do no harm. Russia has already invested 2 billion dollars to get rid of the debris. The research is said to be finished by 2020. The idea was to create a pod that would go around the Earth at high speed knocking the junk back to Earth which would either burn up in the atmosphere or land somewhere isolated. The pod would be powered by a nuclear core that would last 15 years. Electrodynamic Debirs Eliminator (EDDE) is also another idea. This is a net that will go around Earth's Low orbit and grab everything it can in it's net. Once it collects the junk, it would fling it into the pacific ocean where it would do very little harm, or it would burn up in the atmosphere during re-entry. Why is this an issue and how has this developed over time? It all started with astronauts leaving bits and pieces of rocket stages, satallites and other junk in Earth's orbit. The very first piece of junk in space was a spent rocket stage of the satellite Sputnik-1. Junk like this has accumilated over time which has made space exploration very difficult as the debris flies at hundreds of miles an hour. At this speed, a collision with even the smallest thing would be devastating.








While in space, a fleck of paint hit the space shuttel's window causing the it to crack. This shows how dangerous it is. This is now fixed as the Whipple shield protect the space shuttel from the Micrometeoroids and other small space debris. Nasa now believes that there are more than twenty thousand trackable debris around LEO. In my opinon, they should just start by stop polluting space. The more we add, the harder it gets to take it down so this is the best first step to take. I also do like the idea of the pod knocking down the debris as this it is, in my opinon, the most efficient and effective method. For 15 years it will keep knocking objects back down to Earth and hopefully burn up in the atmosphere. Nasa, who is leading the space exploration says that the best thing to do right now is to avoid anymore unnecessary junk being added into space until there is a solution. Right now, this is just a technical challenge.
Other parties include Russian, Japanese, French and European Space agencies are all trying to handle the problem of space debris. Each have different opinions. Russia wants to knock down the debris with a nuclear powered pod, France and Europe are tracking down the space debris and Japan is trying to "fish" for the debris with nets If this continues at this rate, it is believed that it will be extremly difficult for space missions in the future. It is already said that the number of debris will triple by 2030. This could be really bad for NASA and other space agencies as they will not be able to do any space missions. The debris will one day fall back to earth but this could take upto hundreds of years. For instance, an object at the altitude of 600 km will take several years for it to come back down to earth. An object at the altitude of 800 km will take decades. If the object is above the altitude of 1000 km, it is believed to take centuries to fall back down to Earth. Even if they fall back down, it is possible that more debris is added to it making it harder and harder to fall back down to earth. Experiences with space debris:
The space shuttel has been lucky so far but it has has had to change it's course a few time due to the space debris. It is bound to get hit one day but a few satellites have definitely got hit. A Russian satellite got a direct hit. Many satellites and the space shuttle get hit but with small micrometeriotes but they are built to withstand such impact. How are the big pieces of Junk created?
They are mostly just broken satellite pieces. In 2007, china sent a missile to destroy an old weather satellite for testing purposes which created over two thousand new pieces of space debris. Two years after that in 2009, there was an accidental collision of the Russian and the American communication satellites. These two factors are believed to be the cause of the big pieces of space debris in Earth's Low orbit. Bibliography:
NASA. (July 2009). orbital debris. Available: http://orbitaldebris.jsc.nasa.gov/faqs.html#16. Last accessed 11 may.

Tariq Malik. (19 May 2009). Dodging Space Junk: Shuttle Looks Good So Far. Available: http://www.space.com/6726-dodging-space-junk-shuttle-good.html. Last accessed 10 May.

Doesn't say. (may 7 2011). How is it possible that a satellite or spacecraft is never hit by space debris, meteors or asteroids?. Available: http://www.telescopeadvice.com/2011/05/07/how-is-it-possible-that-a-satellite-or-spacecraft-is-never-hit-by-space-debris-meteors-or-asteroids/. Last accessed 10 May.

LEE A. PARADISE. (Doesn't say). Is the acumilated space debris a threat to humans?. Available: http://www.scienceclarified.com/dispute/Vol-1/Does-the-accumulation-of-space-debris-in-Earth-s-orbit-pose-a-significant-threat-to-humans-in-space-and-on-the-ground.html. Last accessed 10 May.

Doesn't say. (Doesn't say). Space Debris. Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_debris. Last accessed 10 May 2011.

Nancy Atkinson. (april 11 2008). Space debris in pictures. Available: http://www.universetoday.com/13587/space-debris-illustrated-the-problem-in-pictures/. Last accessed 10 May 2011.

John Roach. (). Japan to go fishing...for space debris. Available: http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/02/08/6012105-japan-to-go-fishingfor-space-debris. Last accessed 10 May 2011.

Christine Lepiston. (20 april 2008). Shocking Space Debris Images. Available: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/04/shocking-space-debris-images.php. Last accessed 9 may 2011. This picture show the development of space debris over time How can it be a threat to a manned and un-manned spacecraft:
Space debris can be a threat to a manned and un-manned spacecraft as it could destroy space shuttles, satellites and even hit astronauts. These chances are increasing and it is bound to hit an astronaut or a satellite some day. Yet some people oppose to this saying that no astronauts have been hit and satellites are built to sustain some small collision with space debris. If something does hit a satellite or the space shuttle, this could cause billions of dollars to go to waste or even leave an astronaut trapped in space. Since the space debris goes at really high speed, (from 3-10 km a second) this could easily puncture light materials and cause big problems. In realistic terms, if a 2mm object is flying at the speed of 10km/s, it will feel like a cricket ball hitting you at the speed of 100km/h.
If an object 10mm was flying at that speed, it would be the same as a large motorbike hitting you at 100km/h.
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