This entry was posted by Friday, 13 February, 2009
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As you may have read by now, a Russian satellite tried to occupy the same space at the same time as a satellite that is (was) part of the Iridium system. The collision (why am I going over all this if you’ve already read it?) spewed space junk – many thousands of pieces – into orbit and in one of the most used portions of near space for satellite deployment.

You might not think this matters much unless you are an astronaut/cosmonaut, but you would be surprised how much earth-bound life now relies on satellites. Our broadcast system, communications system, defense, and more. Aircraft carriers would suddenly rely on those few crewmen who still know how to use a sextant if we lost the ability to keep our satellites aloft. Sextants. Imagine.

Each little piece of debris is, potentially, very destructive because of the high speeds. Energy, (I’m sure you remember) is proportional to the SQUARE of velocity. So a l’il speedin’ fingernail sized piece of plastic can destroy about an Obama Stimulus worth of satellites. Slight exageration. But still..

Suddenly there’s talk of a “Space Situational Awareness” system to keep track of the stuff. Maybe we should loook into a self propelled craft that scoots around in orbit, sweeping up junk. Maybe it could compress it into bracelets. If billionaires pay small fortunes for a ride into space, what would an exotic space junk bracelet be worth?

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