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HuskyCaucasian

How Do We Clean Up Space Junk?

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I didn't put this in the Filibuster area because I don't think it's really political, more science related.

 

Pentagon Wants ‘Space Junk’ Cleaner

The orbit around Earth is a very messy place and the Pentagon’s far-out research arm wants to do something about it. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency put out a notice yesterday requesting information on possible solutions to the infamous space debris problem.

 

“Since the advent of the space-age over five decades ago, more than thirty-five thousand man-made objects have been cataloged by the U.S. Space Surveillance Network,” the agency notes. “Nearly twenty-thousand of those objects remain in orbit today, ninety-four percent of which are non-functioning orbital debris.”

 

These figures do not even include the objects too small to count. There are estimated to be hundreds of thousands of these smaller objects, and as debris hits other debris, it creates even more small pieces, exponentially increasing the amount of objects that could threaten satellites and spacecraft.

 

Space debris has long been a concern as the number of satellites in orbit has increased over the years. But the issue was again highlighted in 2007, when a Chinese anti-satellite missile test created a massive debris field of some 40,000 pieces. The next year, the U.S. conducted its own shoot down of an errant satellite, creating yet another field of debris. The concern is that these pieces of debris could strike satellites, or a manned spacecraft, like the International Space Station. It doesn’t take much to cause a catastrophe; even something as small as a paint chip could prove potentially disastrous if it struck the space shuttle.

 

Darpa is looking for “solutions that could effectively remove significant amounts of debris in a cost-effective fashion.” No doubt, there will be a good mix of creative, unusual and bizarre suggestions.

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we need superman to gather it, and all of the nukes, into a big net and throw it into the sun

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QUOTE (KyYlE23 @ Sep 18, 2009 -> 12:35 PM)
we need superman to gather it, and all of the nukes, into a big net and throw it into the sun

 

Oh yeah, smart guy. . . What happens when the Superman protoplasm Lex Luthor steals turns into a nuclear Superman doppelganger and tears the city apart looking for Mariel Hemmingway??

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It would actually be pretty cool if all this space junk someday forms a ring around Earth.

 

As for cleaning that stuff up, I can't help but think they'll need to make a special spaceship with a fortified metal "scooper" that opens up, collects the junk, and closes when it fills up. As for disposing of the junk... no freaking clue.

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QUOTE (FlaSoxxJim @ Sep 18, 2009 -> 12:47 PM)
Oh yeah, smart guy. . . What happens when the Superman protoplasm Lex Luthor steals turns into a nuclear Superman doppelganger and tears the city apart looking for Mariel Hemmingway??

 

 

THEN IT BECOMES THE WORST BAD GUY EVER! THATS WHAT!

 

 

AND HE IS GOING TO RANDOMLY OPEN HIS MOUTH A LOT FOR NO APPARENT REASON TOO!

 

 

but at the end, the space junk is gone

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QUOTE (SouthsideDon48 @ Sep 18, 2009 -> 01:33 PM)
It would actually be pretty cool if all this space junk someday forms a ring around Earth.

"Cool" is not the word I'd use to describe the earth getting a ring of trash.

 

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QUOTE (NorthSideSox72 @ Sep 18, 2009 -> 12:35 PM)
"Cool" is not the word I'd use to describe the earth getting a ring of trash.

Actually, humans would probably gain the distinction in the universe of being the only species able to successfully inadvertently create a ring around planet Earth, which just happens to be trash.

 

I find it to be a pretty freaky metaphor about humans and our inability to reduce waste.

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QUOTE (KyYlE23 @ Sep 18, 2009 -> 02:35 PM)
THEN IT BECOMES THE WORST BAD GUY EVER! THATS WHAT!

 

You mean you're not scared by a super villain who loses his power when the sun goes behind a cloud?

 

:lolhitting

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QUOTE (FlaSoxxJim @ Sep 18, 2009 -> 01:50 PM)
You mean you're not scared by a super villain who loses his power when the sun goes behind a cloud?

 

:lolhitting

 

I refuse to listen to someone who cannot understand the subleties of flawed supervillains.

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QUOTE (SouthsideDon48 @ Sep 18, 2009 -> 11:33 AM)
It would actually be pretty cool if all this space junk someday forms a ring around Earth.

 

As for cleaning that stuff up, I can't help but think they'll need to make a special spaceship with a fortified metal "scooper" that opens up, collects the junk, and closes when it fills up. As for disposing of the junk... no freaking clue.

Actually, there's other options available. The fact that you're in space actually helps you; it gives you both a disposal method (Burn up on re-entry) and it makes the mechanics somewhat simple. If you can target a small piece of trash with something that can change its momentum (a laser could genuinely do this) you can change its orbital parameters enough that it would drop in to the atmosphere.

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