Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Space Junk

The International Space Station had a close call last week.  NASA forecasted that the International Space Station would be in the direct path of some space junk.  NASA originally planned to move the station to avoid a collision but it was determined that it wasn't necessary.
What was expected to hit the station?  Was it a meteor or an alien ship?
No, it was old and unwanted trash, an Indian rocket and a Russian satellite that are no longer used.

Satellites that are launched into space have long life spans.  But, what happens when they stop working?  Each year about a dozen satellites go out of service every year and there are over several hundred satellites that are disposed into space. Some explode and some break down into smaller pieces.  Satellites that are in a geosynchronous orbit, at an altitude of 36,000 km, are then raised to a higher orbit, approximately 300 km higher and left in space. The orbits eventually deteriorate over time and will take millennia to fall to Earth.  Satellites closer down will take centuries or decades.  Some that are low enough can be directed down to Earth in a shorter amount of time.
When satellites fall to Earth, up to 60 percent of it will be destroyed.  The remaining parts will fall to the  Earth.  Despite all these pieces falling from the sky, no one has been injured from falling space junk.

And yet, we are not only littering our planet, but polluting space as well. Further proof that humans are disgraceful.

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