September 5, 2011 by staff
Space Junk, Clouds of space junk orbiting the Earth have come to a dangerous “tipping point” that threatens to destroy satellites and astronauts in danger, U.S. scientists warned in a study this week.
“The current environment of space is becoming increasingly hazardous to spacecraft and astronauts,” said Donald Kessler, chairman of the committee that wrote the report and the head is retired from NASA’s Office Orbital Debris Program.
“NASA has to determine the best way forward to address the multiple problems caused by meteorites and space debris made and robotic space operations at risk.”
NASA is currently tracking more than 22,000 pieces of debris and estimates that there are millions more that are too small to track.
Among them are at least 500,000 particles of up to 10 inches in diameter, which can cause damage when traveling at high speeds.
Computer models have shown that the “garbage has reached a” tipping point “with enough at present continuously in orbit collide and create even more debris, increasing the risk of failure of the spacecraft,” said National Research Council in a statement Thursday.
Efforts to limit the amount of space junk suffered a setback in 2007 when China tested its anti-satellite missile in a weather satellite that was blown to pieces.
More remains were formed two years later, when he accidentally collided two satellites in orbit.
The cleaning of the rockets used and abandoned equipment is not only costly – it is also complicated by the fact that the United States is prohibited by international law to collect items that belong to other nations.
“The Cold War is over, but remains high sensitivity to satellite technology,” said Vice-Chairman of George Gleghorn, a former vice president and chief engineer of TRW Space Agency and Technology Group.
The 160-page report recommends that NASA involve assistance from the State Department in the classification of “economic, technological, political and legal.
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