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Pentagon: A Space Junk Collision Could Set Off Catastrophic Chain Reaction
Popular Science ^ | 5/27/2010 | Clay Dillow

Posted on 06/04/2010 11:44:04 PM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld

Every now and again someone raises a stern warning about the amount of space junk orbiting Earth. Those warnings are usually met with general indifference, as very few of us own satellites or travel regularly to low Earth orbit. But the DoD's assessment of the space junk problem finds that perhaps we should be paying attention: space junk has reached a critical tipping point that could result in a cataclysmic chain reaction that brings everyday life on Earth to a grinding halt.

Our reliance on satellites goes beyond the obvious. We depend on them for television signals, the evening weather report, and to find our houses on Google Earth when we're bored at work. But behind the scenes, they also inform our warfighting capabilities, keep track of the global shipping networks that keep our economies humming, and help us get to the places we need to get to via GPS.

to the DoD's interim Space Posture Review, that could all come crashing down. Literally. Our satellites are sorely outnumbered by space debris, to the tune of 370,000 pieces of junk up there versus 1,100 satellites. That junk ranges from nuts and bolts lost during spacewalks to pieces of older satellites to whole satellites that no longer function, and it's all whipping around the Earth at a rate of about 4.8 miles per second.

The fear is that with so much junk already up there, a collision is numerically probable at some point. Two large pieces of junk colliding could theoretically send thousands more potential satellite killers into orbit, and those could in turn collide with other pieces of junk or with satellites, unleashing another swarm of debris. You get the idea.

(Excerpt) Read more at popsci.com ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: collision; communication; dod; gps; orbit; pentagon; satellites; science; space; spacecollision; spacedebris; spacejunk

1 posted on 06/04/2010 11:44:04 PM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld
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To: sonofstrangelove

People would go nuts without all their electronic toys.


2 posted on 06/04/2010 11:49:48 PM PDT by unkus
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To: unkus

I agree.


3 posted on 06/04/2010 11:50:30 PM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld ( "Fortes fortuna adiuvat"-Fortune Favors the Strong)
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In 1959, NASA built ECHO One, which was a balloon was designed to reflect radio signals from one place on earth to another, the first time that feat would be accomplished using an artificial satellite. Oddly enough, however, when this pioneering communications-satellite project was first conceived, it involved neither communications nor satellites.This can be built if satellites are ever cut off.
4 posted on 06/04/2010 11:57:55 PM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld ( "Fortes fortuna adiuvat"-Fortune Favors the Strong)
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To: Captain Beyond; hennie pennie; mowowie

Ping


5 posted on 06/05/2010 12:07:09 AM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld ( "Fortes fortuna adiuvat"-Fortune Favors the Strong)
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To: sonofstrangelove

Wow cool good to see we got a back up plan.


6 posted on 06/05/2010 12:11:03 AM PDT by Captain Beyond (The Hammer of the gods! (Just a cool line from a Led Zep song))
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To: Captain Beyond

It has been tested and it works.


7 posted on 06/05/2010 12:11:58 AM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld ( "Fortes fortuna adiuvat"-Fortune Favors the Strong)
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To: sonofstrangelove
This could be worse than the cone of shame ...


8 posted on 06/05/2010 12:14:52 AM PDT by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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To: Liberty Valance

LOL.


9 posted on 06/05/2010 12:15:23 AM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld ( "Fortes fortuna adiuvat"-Fortune Favors the Strong)
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To: sonofstrangelove
Nuke the junk! Nuke the junk!.......Oh, I thought I was on a BP oilwell thread ;^)
10 posted on 06/05/2010 12:26:52 AM PDT by The Cajun (Mind numbed robot , ditto-head, Hannitized, Levinite)
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To: sonofstrangelove
This can be built if satellites are ever cut off.

Echo was a ultra thin skin balloon. If lower earth orbit is full of space junk, how long before a large target like that is hit, deflates, is shreaded, and becomes useless? Alot like what happened to the Pageos balloon that was orbited in a higher, presumably safer orbit, back around 1970.
11 posted on 06/05/2010 1:28:06 AM PDT by plsvn
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To: plsvn

That is a problem that I did not consider. I think that they can use materials they did not have in the 1960s. Its better than having no satellite communications.


12 posted on 06/05/2010 1:31:40 AM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld ( "Fortes fortuna adiuvat"-Fortune Favors the Strong)
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To: sonofstrangelove
Too bad someone can't develop a space sweeper. Once upon a time in America people saw problems as both challenges and in some cases business opportunities.
13 posted on 06/05/2010 3:53:51 AM PDT by Mobilemitter (We must learn to fin >-)> for ourselves.........)
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To: sonofstrangelove
Chain Reaction
14 posted on 06/05/2010 4:13:27 AM PDT by Sgt_Schultze (A half-truth is a complete lie)
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To: sonofstrangelove
Isn't it a rule that you have to post this picture on threads about space junk?


15 posted on 06/05/2010 4:47:11 AM PDT by naturalized
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To: sonofstrangelove
We have simply lost our ability to identify and solve a pending problem, even one that will be a genuine disaster. The Left has become so adept at using a crisis as a means to tighten their grip on power that they make it all but impossible to actually solve the problem. Certainly not all, but many of them embrace a crisis and have no interest in solving the problem. In fact, I suspect they introduce the seeds of a new problem or crisis seeds into the system on a regular basis. Then they carefully nurture it until it can get by on its own, then off to the next fertile field.

So many of the crisis situations we've seen in the last 10 years are directly attributable to the Left’s power mania that I find it very hard to believe it's anything other than intentional.

16 posted on 06/05/2010 4:51:18 AM PDT by jwparkerjr
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To: jwparkerjr

I understand what you’re saying and I pretty much agree. We no longer concentrate on problem-solving but on problem-utilization and exploitation.


17 posted on 06/05/2010 5:42:16 AM PDT by RoadTest (Religion is a substitute for the relationship God wants with you.)
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To: RoadTest
There are those who still pride themselves in problem solving, but they are constantly under attack by those who view the problem as an asset, not a liability. It's hard to drain the swamp when someone is trucking 15-foot alligators to distract you!
18 posted on 06/05/2010 8:44:56 AM PDT by jwparkerjr
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To: sonofstrangelove

Our “brillant” government stirkes again. Don’t worry about tomorrow...today is all that matters.


19 posted on 06/05/2010 9:45:28 AM PDT by SaraJohnson
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To: jwparkerjr

When we begin entering new frontiers, we have to think about and solve these problems then. After the fact, it is a crisis and crashes.

Wait ‘til you see their program of genetically mixing human beings and the animal kingdom. It is called “transhumanism” and if you have not heard about it, it’s time for all of us to check it out. Talk about problems down the road!


20 posted on 06/05/2010 9:48:21 AM PDT by SaraJohnson
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To: plsvn
"Echo was a ultra thin skin balloon. If lower earth orbit is full of space junk, how long before a large target like that is hit, deflates, is shreaded, and becomes useless?"


21 posted on 06/05/2010 10:03:51 AM PDT by Rebelbase (Political correctness in America today is a Rip Van Winkle acid trip.)
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To: Rebelbase
shreaded

Is that a word?
22 posted on 06/05/2010 10:05:08 AM PDT by aruanan
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To: aruanan

Haven’t you ever heard of shreaded chease?


23 posted on 06/05/2010 10:08:32 AM PDT by Rebelbase (Political correctness in America today is a Rip Van Winkle acid trip.)
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To: Rebelbase
Haven’t you ever heard of shreaded chease?

Oh, yeah. I forgot.
24 posted on 06/05/2010 10:12:29 AM PDT by aruanan
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To: Las Vegas Dave; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Swordmaker

Thanks sonofstrangelove.


25 posted on 06/05/2010 1:44:48 PM PDT by SunkenCiv ("Fools learn from experience. I prefer to learn from the experience of others." -- Otto von Bismarck)
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To: The Cajun
Nuke the junk!

How about using the stuff as targets for lasers? It would be darn good practice vaporizing various bits and pieces that are zooming around up there..

26 posted on 06/07/2010 8:16:00 AM PDT by glorgau
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To: sonofstrangelove

some backstory:

Debris Spews Into Space in Collision of Satellites (First Ever)
The New York Times | February 11, 2009 | WILLIAM J. BROAD, William Harwood
Posted on 02/11/2009 8:54:32 PM PST by gandalftb
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2183818/posts


27 posted on 06/07/2010 6:07:36 PM PDT by SunkenCiv ("Fools learn from experience. I prefer to learn from the experience of others." -- Otto von Bismarck)
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To: sonofstrangelove

What is needed is a series of satellites that direct laser energy at pieces of space debris to change their orbit, so they enter the atmosphere.


28 posted on 07/04/2010 3:00:21 PM PDT by Tax Government (We ask nothing except that our elected representatives uphold the Constitution.)
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