newspaper templates - theme rewards

.

The Seriousness of the Kessler Syndrome

December 9, 2013 Missions 2867
Share!
A computer simulation made by the Institute for Air and Spacesystems at the Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany, shows the distribution and movement of space debris at present and in future. Image Credit: AP / TU Braunschweig

A computer simulation made by the Institute for Air and Spacesystems at the Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany, shows the distribution and movement of space debris at present and in future.
Image Credit: AP / TU Braunschweig

The problem with space debris isn’t that it’s just a problem of having all this trash floating around, or that it will have an environmental impact (since anything that re-enters the atmosphere typically disintegrates). The real problem with space debris is the speed of that debris, and the possibility that said debris will impact other (more valuable) objects in orbit. And we’re not talking about a fender-bender here; we’re talking about two rather fragile thousand-pound objects colliding at speeds of tens of thousands of miles an hour.

In the event that two objects impact one-another, the collision creates a massive debris cloud which is also traveling at thousands of miles an hour. Anything from stray solar panels to a screw could obliterate another spacecraft (imagine a screw traveling 20,000 miles an hour). That debris would then hit other objects in orbit, which creates more debris and hits more objects and….you get the picture.

Image Credit: ESA

Image Credit: ESA

This scenario is called Kessler Syndrome, after the NASA scientist Donald Kessler who first realized the problem back in the late 70′s. If enough objects collided in orbit, this would spell disaster for all orbital operations; this domino effect of collision and subsequent debris fields wouldn’t just devastate all current space operations, but would effectively eliminate the possibility of any future space operations (as anything else we would launch into orbit would be destroyed and create even more debris, thus making the problem even worse).

The bad news: orbital collisions have already occurred. The very first (accidental) collision took place in 2009 between two communication satellites, one from the U.S. and the other Russian. And a massive debris cloud was detected after the collision took place.

The reassuring news: currently we are able to track orbital debris and its trajectories, and can order spacecraft to alter course to avoid any possible collisions.

The scary news: currently we are tracking over 300,000 pieces of orbital debris that are 1 centimeter or larger.

Projected amount of orbital debris resulting from the Kessler Syndrome if spaceflight is stopped for the next 200 years Image Credit: NASA

Projected amount of orbital debris resulting from the Kessler Syndrome if spaceflight is stopped for the next 200 years Image Credit: NASA

The good (awesome) news: Many companies and government agencies are coming up with plans to deal with the problem, but a company that I’ve been particularly interested in and following lately has a plan and intends to follow through with it (and on the cheap). It’s not hard to get rid of it; you just have to slow it down enough so it re-enters the atmosphere and burns up. And the Swiss Space Systems (or S3), teamed up with École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, or EPFL for short…more or less a government-funded Swiss version of CalTech or MIT) has a plan to do just that.

Take a look at the video to see what they have in mind.

And remember kids, always clean up your trash. You can’t even imagine who’s day you might be wrecking.

Write a Comment

143 Comments

  1. Sofi Bilal December 9, 2013 at 9:01 am -

    Don’t waste your precious time on waste things !!
    Increase your knowledge here :)
    Amazing Universal Facts
    Amazing Universal Facts
    Very useful page For All Exams.. (Y) :)

    Reply
  2. Mikey Brannigan December 9, 2013 at 9:03 am -

    Simon Jordan Eamon Smith

    Reply
  3. 陳威仲 December 9, 2013 at 9:04 am -

    Now at least… We’ve got our own rings

    Reply
    • Renato Souza December 9, 2013 at 9:19 am -

      garbage rings…im not proud at all :(

      Reply
    • 陳威仲 December 9, 2013 at 9:21 am -

      Better than nothing XD

      Reply
    • Gabriel Wallenborg December 9, 2013 at 9:26 am -

      Renato, “garbage” per defenition. It’s not like there’s candy wrappings flying around. Personally, I just find it fascinating that we were able to this to begin with..

      Reply
    • Marcus R. Stöger December 9, 2013 at 9:35 am -

      And now think about the artificial saturn rings – they aren´t from natural nature ;)

      Reply
    • Eurypterid Palmer December 9, 2013 at 9:38 am -

      Natural nature! That’s a new one.

      Reply
    • Omer David December 9, 2013 at 9:54 am -

      Hey, well… Saturn’s rings are made of rock and ice, ours is made out of technology. I like ours better.

      Reply
    • Огторгуйн Хүн December 9, 2013 at 9:58 am -

      hahaah

      Reply
    • Prathamesh Kulkarni December 9, 2013 at 10:57 am -

      really colorful rings :P

      Reply
    • Roy Hey December 9, 2013 at 12:21 pm -

      lol they look like god just grabbed a pen and scribbled on it.

      Reply
    • Ryan George December 9, 2013 at 4:16 pm -

      Except from this same perspective of these visualizations are accurate… the satellites would not be visible.

      Reply
    • Eelizabeth Gibbons-Estes December 9, 2013 at 7:25 pm -

      Well it is kind of beautiful and if man hadn’t put something up there we wouldn’t be talking on this computer.

      Reply
    • From Quarks to Quasars December 9, 2013 at 8:26 pm -

      *sings*

      Always look on the bright side of life. doo do de doo. Always look on the bright side of life!

      Reply
    • Rob Gìll December 9, 2013 at 8:33 pm -

      Some things in life are bad
      They can really make you sad
      Other things just make you swear and curse
      When you’re chewing on life’s gristle
      Don’t grumble, give a whistle
      And this’ll help things turn out for the best…
      And…

      Reply
    • Wagner Sousa December 10, 2013 at 7:11 pm -

      https://www.facebook.com/ciencianaweb?hc_location=timeline curtam é mais que uma ótima página

      Reply
  4. Sheila Webster December 9, 2013 at 9:04 am -

    We have issues

    Reply
  5. Sasha Black December 9, 2013 at 9:04 am -

    Here is another image showing the extent of man-made orbital debris.

    “Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.” -Douglass Adams

    Reply
    • Surya Mandyam December 9, 2013 at 9:06 am -

      I get it, you’re doing like a thing

      Reply
    • Sasha Black December 9, 2013 at 9:08 am -

      This is what it looks like if man-made debris is represented real-size, instead of using gigantic dots or clipart satellites

      Reply
    • Michael Donovan Aparicio December 9, 2013 at 9:19 am -

      True, don’t confuse sensational graphics with information. Still, if the article is accurate, we’ve identified 300,000 pieces of debris, there already has been an accidental collision, and we’re developing contingency plans. Is it a nonissue? Hard to know without more data. Is it good to develop protocols before it becomes a problem? Yes.

      Reply
    • Sasha Black December 9, 2013 at 9:22 am -

      I don’t disagree that the kessler syndrome could cause trouble somewhere down the line, but I hate sensationalism when so many people are incapable of taking a step back and realising when a story is over-hyped

      Reply
    • Therese Friedhaber December 9, 2013 at 9:23 am -

      When in doubt quote Douglas Adams.

      Reply
    • Sonny de Oliveira December 9, 2013 at 9:24 am -

      ah, so thats what it looks like when you have a narrow mind. gotcha.

      Reply
    • Sasha Black December 9, 2013 at 9:35 am -

      Sonny, you seem to have missed the point of my post :p

      Reply
    • Sasha Black December 9, 2013 at 9:36 am -

      Sonny, you seem to have missed the point of my post :p

      Reply
    • Retsu Perdana December 9, 2013 at 9:51 am -

      I have no Idea.. But, I love clean earth

      Reply
    • Donna Davis December 9, 2013 at 9:54 am -

      Maybe the graphics are not “life-sized” but the crap is still there. Anybody see Gravity?

      Reply
    • Abhishek Kumar December 9, 2013 at 9:59 am -

      I can’t see a thing there except the earth.

      Reply
    • Boyd Dunson December 9, 2013 at 10:00 am -

      I just think it is cool that you quoted THGTTG. Let’s not panic, people.

      Reply
    • Abhishek Kumar December 9, 2013 at 10:02 am -

      Well, I too loved the quote. :-)

      Reply
    • Beverly Richardson December 9, 2013 at 10:23 am -

      the vastness of space is just incomprehensible to us insignificant beings…In my opinion, the universe is infinite…blows my mind and I can’t contemplate it too long or I will lose my mind…

      Reply
    • Jim Botaitis December 9, 2013 at 10:27 am -

      Hear, hear! I love your message Sasha!

      Reply
    • Jon Illum December 9, 2013 at 11:12 am -

      I get the point but, no matter the size of the dot that is still a f*ckload of dots and we just barely started putting them up there not too long ago. This is not sensationalized when you keep the large scale of time in mind. We should really stop putting crap up there or at least clean up the old debris before we put up new satellites.

      Reply
    • Brooklyn Nicole Noel Grafton December 9, 2013 at 11:37 am -

      << confused!?? How does our "trash" end up orbiting the earth. How doee ones trash get up there? 0-o

      Reply
    • Marlon Namledeen December 9, 2013 at 11:45 am -

      Brooklyn, we’ve been shooting our trash into space for three decades now so that we stop adding to the garbage patch in the pacific ocean

      Reply
    • Marlon Namledeen December 9, 2013 at 11:46 am -

      ok….i’m kidding…it’s space debris from previous missions and collisions of satellites…the bulk of the junk comes down onto earth and burns up but some of it continues orbiting the earth at high speeds creating small deadly rings of garbage

      Reply
    • E-a Kozmoz December 9, 2013 at 12:07 pm -

      am i the only one who sees a skull on the planet pic?

      Reply
    • Mike Wargo December 9, 2013 at 12:33 pm -

      some day a company might be started and it might be profitable to collect and recycle this debris, lolz. Either that or the government will pay people to do it with tax money.

      Reply
    • A Estuardo Pereira December 9, 2013 at 2:22 pm -

      Ah!!! our great planet Earth!!!!

      Reply
    • Ryan Flannery December 9, 2013 at 2:28 pm -

      It’s a problem that needs to be hyped when we’re talking about the future of space programs we have to be good global citizens and not clutter LEO that could potentially hamper future space development. It’s a preventable problem and in some bands of orbit nasa has looked at ways of removing it before the critical density necessary to create kessler syndrome like events.

      I see nothing wrong with the data represented in this post, even a penny sized debris can take down a satellite thus exponentially increasing the amount of debris. Especially when the only call to action is “hey, maybe we should de-orbit some satellites or be sure lower stages don’t achieve a parking orbit”

      Reply
    • From Quarks to Quasars December 9, 2013 at 4:53 pm -

      A fair point, certainly. However, if I may defend the graphic for a moment:

      How does one raise awareness about certain issues or concerns if they can’t get people to pay attention? This is one of the primary concerns of all science writers. I think that we all (all science writers) tread a thin line. On one side, we have to be wary of being sensationalist or exaggerating facts. On the other side, we have to convey the significance of the topic at hand to a culture that is (generally speaking) more interested in Jersey Shore than science or a sustainable future. Of course, I don’t mean to exclude myself from the rest of society–people have to work to get my attention as well. Regardless, the point remains, and we are forced to walk a thin line.

      So admittedly, the graphic makes things look nasty; however, I think that the article explains the issue in a fairly honest and non-sensationalist way (but then, I suppose I come from a rather biased viewpoint, which should be obvious given that I write for FQTQ).

      I’d like to think that we give readers all of the necessary information to properly interpret any graphic that we post. Largely, the problem seems to be that people do not actually *read* the articles; they just look at the graphics. At the very least, when assigning blame for sensationalist ideas, I think that the readers are often as culpable as the writers.

      All the best,
      Jolene

      Reply
    • Sonny de Oliveira December 9, 2013 at 4:57 pm -
      Reply
    • Guiseppe Gavazza December 9, 2013 at 6:39 pm -

      Your image (the one not showing debris) is incorrect and considered dis-information. The space debris is surrounding Earth because it’s in orbit.. no it isn’t going to go floating off into other galaxies and vanish.

      Reply
  6. Craig Bruton December 9, 2013 at 9:06 am -

    so let’s scoop it up and shoot it to the Sun. It is ready-made garbage incinerator.

    Reply
  7. Andy Brown December 9, 2013 at 9:07 am -

    yes well lol we seem to LOVE destroying shit ….this is no surprise. We havent even touched on space yet ( in the grand scheme of things anyway) and already we have created a giant sheild of trash around the planet…lovely…

    Reply
  8. Alf Grayson December 9, 2013 at 9:08 am -

    We need federation type deflector shields for our space craft. That or we stop shitting up the space immediately surrounding our planet!!

    Reply
  9. Mark Oglesby December 9, 2013 at 9:10 am -

    A screw travelling at 20,000mph? What’s its relative speed to other stuff? To other things in orbit, it might be only travelling at a hundred mph.

    Reply
  10. Héctor Adolfo Ituarte December 9, 2013 at 9:17 am -

    Pardon me, not being a native English speaker I might be wrong about this: but isn’t ‘starred’ the correct word? (As to designate a person/object/whatever in the protagonical role of a film/show/play.)

    Reply
    • Troy Lenz December 9, 2013 at 10:10 am -

      Yes you are correct

      Reply
    • Nadin Dereguardati December 9, 2013 at 10:18 am -

      polluting also the space!! the humankind is really crazy!

      Reply
    • Ryan George December 9, 2013 at 4:14 pm -

      ^We aren’t polluting space… you realize space is already extremely hostile to life? There isn’t anything harmful we can put out there that isn’t already there.

      We just have some garbage to clean to keep future missions safe.

      Reply
    • Astronomy Videos December 9, 2013 at 4:32 pm -

      We seem to be determined to destroy our home….one way or another.

      Reply
  11. Zunaid Baderdien December 9, 2013 at 9:17 am -

    Dear Sasha Black, it’s exactly that kind of arrogant indifference that will see us ruin the only home we have. You must be American, Republican and white. It’s our waste and we have a responsibility to clean it up!

    Reply
    • Carlos Buendia December 9, 2013 at 9:26 am -

      Dear mr. dick.this is a science page she stated science facts and you throw nationality,political and race cards.i dont think you know the meaning of arrogant indeference.your bigotry is whats gonna ruin this place.

      Reply
    • Aretta Surles December 9, 2013 at 9:58 am -

      Hey Zunaid Baderdien. Im an American and Im white but Im not a Republican :). Besides which non of that has anything to do with personal responsibility. I totally agree with you that it’s our responsibility to clean up our waste. But what you just did was equally disgusting and very similar to throwing out your own space debris. It was a philosophical fallacy. You don’t attack a persons character you attack the argument. So take that as a lesson in bettering yourself, as a human being.

      Reply
    • Boyd Dunson December 9, 2013 at 10:03 am -

      Speaking of space and whatnot, I was astonished when I watched an old Outer Limits ep on dvd and they had guys walking around on Mars in tee shirts and breathing the “air”. I know it was fifty years ago but their science was very bad.

      Reply
    • Gary Berliner December 9, 2013 at 12:19 pm -

      Nationalistic Prejudice, Political Bigotry, and Anti-Caucasian Racism – just what we need on a Science page.

      Reply
    • Chris R Hobbs December 9, 2013 at 12:28 pm -

      What’s it like to be racist ???

      Reply
    • Josh Tasman December 9, 2013 at 1:12 pm -

      @Carlos, she quoted Douglas Adams from the book Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. It’s a comedy. Also when it comes to orbiting a tiny planet like ours space is not that vast at all, this pictures shows that shit is filling up pretty quick. Zunaid, fail troll 0/10

      Reply
    • Noah Peseckis December 9, 2013 at 2:31 pm -

      Being white and republican has nothing to do with this, and furthermore your assertions are racist, bigoted, ignorant trash. Space exploration needs to be objective, honest, and free of preconceived notions if we are going to have any chance of succeeding with it.

      I agree that our orbital hoarding a serious problem, I’m white, and I’m relatively republican. If you think any of that matters you are literally a racist. Look it up. Keep your hatred to yourself and stop believing secondhand information.

      Reply
    • Ryan Flannery December 9, 2013 at 2:34 pm -

      Carlos Buendia I agree with the first part of your statement, however Ms Black didn’t cite any type of science, he’s not wrong, from the picture he posted you can’t see any space debris, but you also can’t see any viruses that cause the flu and may other problems that arise from something you can’t see or is, by scale, small. There is clearly a misunderstanding of what people intend to do with space debris, it’s known that there is no good way at the current time to de-orbit all these bits of junk but we can plan our future space missions to de orbit when done, and not do leave junk in low earth orbit.

      Reply
    • Sasha Black December 9, 2013 at 8:48 pm -

      From the pic I posted you also can’t see global warming, human overpopulation or any other global issues our species faces.
      I am not denying that space debris is a problem. LEO debris is particularly troublesome because of how much it limits launch windows.
      Also. What does race, political leaning or birth country have to do with anything? Stereotypes hurt everybody :(

      Reply
  12. Roman Schrittwieser December 9, 2013 at 9:18 am -

    I’ve thought this is a scientific page, so please use SI units and forgo miles and hour and inches, feet, yards, ounces, pounds etc. etc.

    Reply
    • Seth Phillips December 9, 2013 at 11:06 am -

      They mainly do that to help …to make it easier I guess. If you find any real scientists who devote their time to Facebook, well… Let me know ;3

      Reply
    • Steve Conaway December 9, 2013 at 1:07 pm -

      Yes exactly! Gangham Style!

      Reply
  13. Goran Joksimovic December 9, 2013 at 9:21 am -

    Looks Christmasy :D

    Reply
  14. Edward Ian RiFf Tagg December 9, 2013 at 9:22 am -

    Even space we manage to mess up

    Reply
  15. Clyde George December 9, 2013 at 9:22 am -

    So what they’re saying is that shooting start saw last night was probably a piece of trash?

    Reply
  16. Daniel Hufham December 9, 2013 at 9:22 am -

    We trash Earth why not space

    Reply
  17. Toni Clift Sarver December 9, 2013 at 9:23 am -

    I’m surprised some industrious person hasn’t made a proposal to go get the debris for some insane fee.

    Reply
  18. John Sharkey December 9, 2013 at 9:25 am -

    Send up a big magnet

    Reply
  19. Zom Biezley December 9, 2013 at 9:27 am -

    Honestly, it’s because we’re jealous of Saturn’s rings I think.

    Reply
  20. Ashish Nitin Patil December 9, 2013 at 9:30 am -

    I say, sling it from the earth & pull it back. :P

    Reply
  21. Dustin Twitch Dunn December 9, 2013 at 9:32 am -

    What if Saturns rings are the remains of gas mining satellites constructed by an ancient and extinct race of life that was advanced in their own right?

    Reply
    • Chris Curry December 9, 2013 at 12:32 pm -

      it’s not ok, it’s not. conspiracy theories are fun, but most are as ignorant as the person coming up with them

      Reply
    • Brett Bonine December 9, 2013 at 1:44 pm -

      Well, Saturn’s rings are all in the same plane, meaning all of your satellites would be over the same latitude and longitude- not a very good way to mine the entire planet. If some ancient race of Saturnians (or whatever you would call them) wanted to harvest all of Saturn’s gas, they would need to create some sort of Dyson sphere around the planet. If the satellites had a proper resonance with Saturn, they would pass over a different spot with each successive orbit, allowing them to cover the entire planet. As to how they would collect gas from orbiting satellites traveling at hypersonic velocities is beyond me, but hey. Speculation can be fun every once in a while.

      Reply
    • Benjamin Desjarlais December 9, 2013 at 5:56 pm -

      that would also mean everything they had was made of rock. How far down is “land” on Saturn again?

      Reply
    • Bryant Baker December 9, 2013 at 5:58 pm -

      Not sure what the point of mining saturn for gas would be you can get the exact same gases from tons of other sources that would require less energy to escape its massive gravity well

      Reply
  22. Sher Sky Horizons December 9, 2013 at 9:40 am -

    can we please stop blaming *all* of humanity for the choices and actions of a few people, who like to say they’re doing things for all of humanity!

    Reply
  23. Quinten Hill December 9, 2013 at 9:42 am -

    I’m not the asshole throwing that shit out there…

    Reply
  24. Erwin Orval December 9, 2013 at 9:45 am -

    Best option… Destroy all humans!!!!! We make everything dirty…. first only planet Earth…. than the space around Earth ..than the moon… mars…. if we ever build a warp drive to visit other planets and find life we gonna make there planet dirty to!! See… WE humans are the biggest danger for the whole universe.. we filty dirty people! ;)

    Reply
  25. Brandon Butts December 9, 2013 at 9:45 am -

    Only issue I have with this image is obviously the debris is not to scale. 300,000 pieces is nothing in comparison to the size of the earth and the varying altitudes everything is orbiting at.

    Reply
  26. Nick Bennett December 9, 2013 at 9:48 am -

    Ben Topping

    Reply
  27. Fernando Andujar December 9, 2013 at 10:13 am -

    We humans suck so fucking much we’re even fucking up space, fucking SPACE.

    Reply
    • Louis Palermo December 9, 2013 at 10:52 am -

      How? Most of this debris experiences orbital decay, it’ll burn up in some few years at most.

      Reply
  28. David Stegora December 9, 2013 at 10:15 am -

    This is why we can’t have nice things.

    Reply
  29. Ondřej Kmoch December 9, 2013 at 10:16 am -

    Solar wind, our magnetic field and gravity will eventually handle those problems. Meanwhile, we will launch astronouts up there in tanks.

    Reply
  30. Jarreth Muller December 9, 2013 at 10:21 am -

    i will volunteer to be a space debris collector.

    Reply
  31. Joyce Williams McClaran December 9, 2013 at 10:21 am -

    Kum-bi-ya, some folks are so ready to attack mankind they don’t take time to think.

    Reply
  32. Angel Chandler December 9, 2013 at 10:25 am -

    If any creature was ever tempted to visit Earth, I am sure this is an adequate deterrent.

    Reply
  33. sdinjens December 9, 2013 at 10:29 am -

    Seems rather cumbersome to me. Why not send a laser up and slow debris down by shooting it? Or even a conventional gun could do quite a good job. Until ammo runs out that is…

    Reply
    • DutchS December 9, 2013 at 2:16 pm -

      A laser or bullet will just create more tiny debris.

      Reply
      • sdinjens December 9, 2013 at 8:24 pm -

        The idea of course would be to shoot them in a way that pushes them towards the atmosphere, thereby reducing debris.

        Reply
  34. JBOT December 9, 2013 at 10:39 am -

    But what do all the different coloured dots mean? it is pointless to make a chart if you dont explain the chart!

    Reply
  35. Joe O'Connor December 9, 2013 at 10:45 am -

    A catastrophe will happen. Another space crew will be lost. We will call them heroes. We will go to the mall.

    Reply
  36. Boris McGee December 9, 2013 at 10:50 am -

    Why everyone be hating on the trash? The trash didn’t put itself out there! Poor trash- at the mercy of human recklessness.

    Reply
  37. Walter Abington December 9, 2013 at 11:15 am -

    I first became aware of the space trash problem when watching the series ‘Max Headroom’ and people were walking around with umbrella hats because of the falling trash from the sky.

    Reply
  38. Onitra Wilkerson-Proffer December 9, 2013 at 11:22 am -

    My question is, Why have we littered up space??? Isn’t destroying our planet enough! UGH!

    Reply
  39. Jessica Mayes December 9, 2013 at 11:28 am -

    Did any of you geniuses who are dismissing this problem as trivial, and/or are suggesting fifth-grade level solutions that you came up with in thirty seconds, actually read the article? Take it up with Kessler. You know, the NASA scientist who spent his entire career studying and analyzing this problem.

    http://iaass.space-safety.org/awards/jerome-lederer-space-safety-pioneer-award/space-safety-pioneer-award-hall-of-fame/kessler-biography/

    Reply
  40. Omar Lozada December 9, 2013 at 11:41 am -

    maybe this will act as a shield against alien invaders

    Reply
  41. Taltal Martinez December 9, 2013 at 11:53 am -

    we even pollute the space we r given? sad

    Reply
  42. Angela Marie December 9, 2013 at 11:57 am -

    At night you can sit and look up at the sky and watch for satellites. You will see one after another. Never could do that when I was a kid.

    Reply
  43. Zsevenfifty Kawasaki December 9, 2013 at 12:28 pm -

    The Earths low tech defence shield is almost complete .

    Reply
  44. Brigitte DeMouy December 9, 2013 at 12:42 pm -

    Earth First…then we’ll trash the rest of the galaxy.

    Reply
  45. Steve Conaway December 9, 2013 at 1:05 pm -

    “You see they always dump their trash before they go into Hyperspace, Chewie, go back and stand by on the manual release for the landing claw!”

    Reply
  46. Scott Flick December 9, 2013 at 1:35 pm -

    Well, the bigger satellites can be retrieved and I did conceive an Ider for sweeping up the small pieces. a giant ball of ballistic gel in orbit launch it into the path of known particles better in problem areas and they get buried in the ballistic gel after that thing makes enough intercepting Orbitz to pick them all up. After its done, we send it into a burn up re entry over the Pacific Ocean. simple a?

    Reply
  47. DutchS December 9, 2013 at 2:21 pm -

    Most of the big stuff now is de-orbited when its useful life ends. This solution is pretty clunky since it requires a satellite launch to bring down just one satellite. We need something to sweep the small crap.

    Try this for a nightmare scenario. A rogue state with space capability puts up a satellite at geosynchronous altitude, but retrograde. It’s a giant claymore mine, and they detonate it. We now have millions of chunks of debris hitting every geosynchronous satellite. And there are other critical orbits, too, like navsat and sun-synchronous orbits.

    Reply
  48. Mark Blaschke December 9, 2013 at 3:06 pm -

    This might just be the force of universal intelligence protecting itself from us by trapping us in our own pollution so we don’t mess up the rest of the universe.

    Reply
  49. Joe Thurston December 9, 2013 at 5:41 pm -
    Reply
  50. Joe Kerr December 10, 2013 at 3:53 am -
    Reply

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

(Spamcheck Enabled)

newspaper templates - theme rewards