Comments:Out of space in outer space: Special report on NASA's 'space junk' plans
|Thread title||Replies||Last modified|
|recycling the "space junk"||4||18:41, 27 February 2012|
|I Don't Think There's An Easy Solution To Getting Rid Of The Space Debris||0||19:45, 8 November 2011|
|Comments from feedback form - "Neutrality concerns to wikinew..."||0||14:09, 27 October 2011|
|Comments from feedback form - "nice way to present but some m..."||0||10:55, 16 September 2011|
|Comments from feedback form - "An excellent example of Wikine..."||0||05:02, 16 September 2011|
|Comments from feedback form - "Very well written."||0||00:02, 13 September 2011|
|Comments from feedback form - "Great job on this article; ver..."||0||21:11, 11 September 2011|
|Wow||0||18:42, 10 September 2011|
Shouldn't "space junk" be reused and recycled? It's difficult and expensive, to launch things from earth up out of the "gravity well" into orbit. It is wasteful to burn such stuff up in the atmosphere. With some focused heat and specialized tools the metallic space junk can be reformed up there into something for the space station, rather than spending millions of dollars to launch new stuff.
Separating an existing object into its component elements is hard, and the tools to do this are not there yet, but metallic capture can keep the space junk contained until someday the tools can be invented and put up there. Presumably the most-necessary tools can be put into a form that is lighter and cheaper than all this space junk itself. And creative tinkerers, or robots controlled by them, will be up there eventually to do the work. They'll need to be there if we are going to use the moon and space rocks to mine and build stuff in the future.
My initial thought was to collect (post some sort of agreement) debris and then send it into the atmosphere over an ocean, but I didn't like the idea of expediting an existing source of upper atmosphere pollution. Your idea is great. Create collection satellites that consolidate space junk and keep it in orbit until our society decides that space is a priority again.
This is a very well written article. Cheers!
Thank you both for illustrating the pathetic state of today's science education.
More practical might be to bring small quantities down and auction it off as a way of recovering some small part of the cost of other space missions; I have no idea how much it might cost to bring down a spacecraft with any significant payload - nor how practical this might be. A small box of bits might be realistic, however.
In the late 1970s, Andy Griffith starred in TV show called Salvage One. In the pilot episode, he took a ship to the Moon and returned with space junk to sell. There was also a Star Trek - Animated Series public awareness spot regarding space junk back then, too. (No jokes about Chakotay.)
The problem with salvage in orbit is the problem of capture. The Gemini, Apollo/Soyuz and ISS programs demonstrated how difficult and expensive it is to link up vehicles designed to meet. How much harder it would be to capture objects that are unpowered and out of control at 8km/s tangential velocity. It would be amazing if it could be done.
Also, the law of salvage in space should come in line with the law of salvage in the sea. As the article states, one country cannot touch another's space junk. Once the laws change, there's gold in them hills.
Given the environmental effects of letting "I don't know what's in that thing" burning up in the mesosphere, and the economic and educational benefits of pouring a few billion dollars into a reduce-reuse-recycle space race, I really think we should do all we can to keep it up there.
Bold textAny attempt by one Super-Power, to remove the debri is going to be seen as an act of aggression by another. And considering how the United States' government can't even agree to disagree; the chances of us getting all of the other countries to work together to solve the problem is nil-to-none.