12 February 2009


We're trapped!
Well, not yet. But we will be at some point in the future, if we don't take action now.

You know about Big Bubba's association with the Science Fiction industry. Over the years we've watched a lot of stuff "warping" its way through or docked in space. I always snigger when I see the battles and watch spacecraft exploding into a thousand pieces, then turn to my son and ask, "how long will all that debris be a danger out there?"

This week my question took on new urgency. Two satellites
collided in space over Siberia. Scientists are now trying to determine the dangers to other spacecraft, and initial thoughts are that there's not much danger to the International Space Station or to the upcoming Shuttle launch. They are concerned about the Hubble Space Telescope and are looking at whether a change in orbit is necessary there.
Apparently this is the fourth collision of space stuff, the other collisions being of little note.

But we all know the likelihood of this sort of thing happening increases as more and more stuff is put into orbit. How long before the debris field is such that human travel in space will be impossible because we can't safely negotiate the debris field?

And a question I haven't seen answered anywhere so far...
When two objects collide 450 miles above the surface of the earth, how long before gravity pulls that garbage back home? (One of the above mentioned satellites had a nuclear reactor aboard.)
I bet it'll take two kinds of forever for that debris to burn up in the atmosphere!

1 comment:

jinksto said...

Ah, but the more important question... when they collided did they make a really loud noise like those spaceships on TV do when they explode in space?

I think the ISS should be fine as long as they keep the shields at maximum. I'm just sayin'...