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Satellite Collision Debris May Hamper Space Launch

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the install-cowcatchers dept.

Space 131

Matt_dk writes "The debris from a recent collision involving two communications satellites could pose a serious threat for future launches of spacecraft into a geostationary orbit, a Russian scientist said on Friday. Future launches will have to be adjusted with regard to the fact that the debris [from the collision] has spread over an 800-km area and will gather at a common orbit in 5-6 years."

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soviet russia (0, Redundant)

enter to exit (1049190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945355)

In soviet Russia, satellites launch YOU!

Re:soviet russia (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26946767)

In soviet Russia, satellites launch YOU!

Seriously, this "joke" is not funny any more.
Get over it.

Re:soviet russia (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26947457)

In Soviet Russia, "joke" is still funny.

Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Program (4, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945375)

Well, though you might not have thought such a thing was necessary or useful per se' I'm here to tell you that a laser based in orbit than can be used to vaporize such debris is a laser worth having. Oh well

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (3, Funny)

jetsci (1470207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945387)

G.W.B., is that you sir?!

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945431)

Why have lasers in space? It would be way cheaper, and just as effective if we just strap them onto sharks!

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (3, Insightful)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945707)

Sharks can't fly, though, and they would have to be smart enough to aim taking into account the refractive index difference between the seawater and the air.

Maybe if we used flying fish with frickin' lasers strapped to their heads...

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26946031)

The really scary sharks can fly just fine.

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#26948047)

Yep, here's a really scary flying shark [youtube.com] in action (around the 2:20 mark).

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26946747)

Sharks can't fly, though, and they would have to be ...

You know how I know you haven't seen a flying shark? You're still alive.

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (5, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945441)

Unfortunately, this is not Star Trek, where we can just point some magical energy beam at something and "vaporize" it, rendering it harmless. We have to deal with Real Physics here, especially energy constraints. How much energy does do you think it takes to boil a few hundred kilograms of iron? Do you think we have anything remotely like that which we could feasibly launch into orbit? What do you think happens when it inevitably cools?

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26945463)

How much energy does do you think it takes to boil a few hundred kilograms of iron?

Nothing a sufficiently large matter/anti-matter reaction couldn't generate, provided you have enough dilithium to safely regulate the reaction.

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (4, Funny)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945635)

Then again, if you have antimatter, why not just send it at the debris?

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (3, Funny)

Plutonite (999141) | more than 5 years ago | (#26946005)

Because it would tear away our stratosphere on the way up, you insensitive clod. Why don't you just go side with the debris if that's how you want to roll? Some of us are trying to save a planet here!

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26946403)

Then again, if you have antimatter, why not just send it at the debris?

I think we should launch a satellite in the opposite direction and then explode it.

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (1)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 5 years ago | (#26946779)

The power source is already there for a really large magnifying glass.

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (5, Interesting)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945527)

Vaporizing the crap is not feasible, nor is putting extremely large lasers in orbit. Fortunately, neither is necessary. You build a very high peak-power pulse laser on the ground and use it to hit the bits of debris with femtosecond pulses that vaporize a few micrograms off each of them. The vapor acts like a rocket engine, its reaction force slightly changing the orbit. Hit each bit again every time it comes around and soon it is in a decaying orbit. Space Broom [wikipedia.org]

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 5 years ago | (#26947015)

Granted, I only have high school physics on my resumé, but if you blast it from down here, you're bound to hit something that points towards the earth. That means the materials vaporized will be pushed towards earth, giving whatever you're shooting at a boost towards a higher orbit.

Now, while we don't have any large 'nets' to catch debris with, I do believe the most effective thing to clear stuff out of orbit is the atmosphere, and atmospheric drag tends to be more effective at lower altitudes. So you'd really want to push debris to a lower orbig rather than a higher one.

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (3, Informative)

Xolotl (675282) | more than 5 years ago | (#26947141)

if you blast it from down here, you're bound to hit something that points towards the earth. That means the materials vaporized will be pushed towards earth, giving whatever you're shooting at a boost towards a higher orbit.

It doesn't work like that. A push directly away from the Earth will not give a 'higher' orbit (one with more angular momentum), it will change the shape of the orbit (the eccentricity). Essentially the orbit will become longer and thinner, and at a different point in the orbit it will be lower and start to brush against the atmosphere, thus invoking atmospheric drag.

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (1)

AngelofDeath-02 (550129) | more than 5 years ago | (#26947475)

I can't imagine it's really wise to take a disastrous situation and make it worse. How are you going to avoid thousands of bits of space debris when it all has random orbits?

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (2, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26948095)

The bits of stuff already have random orbits. Since you would be tracking while zapping you would know the new orbit of your current target at least as well as you knew the old one. The orbit is not going to be changed drastically: just enough to drop the perigee down to perhaps 150 miles. The atmosphere will take it from there.

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (1)

Gunstick (312804) | more than 5 years ago | (#26947771)

you can also blast against it when it's rising on the horizon (unfortunately then there's a lot more atmosphere to plough through). Then it's orbit velocity will be reduced as you are firing at an angle against it's direction of flight.

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (4, Funny)

bitrex (859228) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945609)

All you have to do is use a Higgs reactor as the power source - use a fusion reaction as a primary energy source to drive ablation plates within an inertial confinement field that then compresses yttrium arsenide into a Grand Unified Theory quark-gluon plasma, and store the radiative energy from the breaking of the supersymmetry during the cooling process in superconducting inductors. God, why do I have to spell things out for everyone.

You forgot to mention... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26945895)

...That first the polarity must be reversed.

Re:You forgot to mention... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26948509)

But captain, that will tear the ship apart!

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (1)

Kozz (7764) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945927)

Berman, are you still pissed about JJ Abrams not letting you in on the new film? Sheesh.

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (1)

rcw-home (122017) | more than 5 years ago | (#26946591)

I accidentally the yttrium arsenide plasma. Can you fix?

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (1)

risk one (1013529) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945651)

What do you think happens when it inevitably cools?

It'll smack into some Russian sattelite?

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26945781)

Vaporisation for the whole chunk is apparantly not required. Just vaporise enough to give the est a little poke into an eccentric orbit. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_broom

It still sounds like nonsense to me

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26945797)

If it was iron we could use magnets. I am more interested in what we do with the non-magnetic materials.

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945837)

Do it the cheapest way possible, this will be the third time I covered this very same point. Implement large scale mirror arrays on earth and reflect solar light back into orbit, the focal point of all those mirrors, many thousands of square metres of mirror can readily vaporise all the debris and the really effective part of using a distributed array is that anything above or below the focal point will only get a few mirrors worth of reflected light while those pieces at the focal can get hundreds of thousands of mirrors worth. Energy input required, just sufficient to control the facing of the mirrors as well as of course radar to target all orbiting junk.

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (1)

robbak (775424) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945879)

Assuming you were being serious, by the time your carefully focused beams travel through the large and chaotic optical device we call our atmosphere, they would be so scattered there wouldn't be enough left to give you a decent tan. Or skin cancer, if you prefer.

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (1)

robbak (775424) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945887)

re-reply: lenses or images focus things into an image, magnified or reduced by an amount proportionate to their focal length.

At a few inches, the sun's image is focused to a scorching image about a millimeter across. At a few hundred kilometers, that image is going to be (at a guess, someone else can do the math) miles across. Far to low a density to do any serious damage to an orbiting item.

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (1)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945969)

What if you made your distributed array out of those evil green lasers that pop balloons and crash airplanes?

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26948037)

Three quarters of the atmosphere's mass is within 11 km (6.8 mi; 36,000 ft) of the surface. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth's_atmosphere [wikipedia.org] . Bet I could readily set you on fire with 100,000 m2 of mirrors at that range, even at sea level.

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (1)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945967)

Hmm. Now imagine if you could buy these mirrors for 20 bucks a pop and put one on your roof. Then charge rich people $100,000 an hour to control the array and play "missile command" IRL. Plus, if your cable company raises their rates again you could blow their sattelite out of orbit.

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (3, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945877)

I'm here to tell you that a laser based in orbit than can be used to vaporize such debris is a laser worth having.

We have to deal with Real Physics here, especially energy constraints.

Furthermore, sharks can't live in space - duh.

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (2, Funny)

Laser Dan (707106) | more than 5 years ago | (#26946775)

Furthermore, sharks can't live in space - duh.

Sharks in frikkin' spacesuits with frikkin' lasers on their heads?

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (1)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945945)

But you don't have to vaporize the whole thing, just push it low enough that its orbit decays and it burns up. Ultimately, don't we have gravity working for us in this situation?

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26946087)

I think the most feasible method is to create a huge 'roomba' - A couple of small vehicles that can be put into orbit near the debris field, spread out a large net and _slowly_ move to scoop all the debris up before moving to a position that brings the whole kit down into the middle of the pacific or similar. It won't have to be as complex as the Mars Rovers, nor incredibly large. You should be able to get the whole thing into orbit in one launch. Basically a huge net with controllable motors on it. A back up vehicle that waits till the net is done, and scoops up any bits not captured in the net, before dropping itself in the ocean as well. Not much need of recovery for the vehicles, nor the satellite bits. Just dump the entirety of it all in the ocean THEN the fricking sharks with lasers on their heads can have at it.

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26946215)

The debris is spread out over a volume of millions of cubic miles and the bits are moving at relative velocities of miles per second. They will tear right through your nets unless you match velocities with each bit, which would would require enormous amounts of fuel and take centuries.

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26948641)

The debris is spread out over a volume of millions of cubic miles and the bits are moving at relative velocities of miles per second.

Relative to what?

The ground, yes.

Each other? No. Tens of meters per second, at most.

More importantly... (2, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26946179)

the last thing that you want to do is break up something about 6" around into 1" pieces. Can not track it. OTH, a laser CAN be used to slow down pieces with relatively little energy, which will take it out of orbit MUCH faster. Though to be honest, I would think that at this time, the companies and govs should instead pay to have their sats deorbited and THEN worry about the little stuff. That way, it avoids this issues.

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26946477)

How much energy does do you think it takes to boil a few hundred kilograms of iron? Do you think we have anything remotely like that which we could feasibly launch into orbit?

We do have something which can boil iron. It's called a nuclear bomb. Strap some stainless steel rods to it and you may be able to add X-ray lasers to it for a longer reach.

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 5 years ago | (#26946659)

Everybody knows that starships, which are in orbit, crash spectacularly (not being affected by the atmosphere) into the planets surface after being hit by a laser. During they go down usually they exhibit a series of smaller fires on the outside, for which they obviously have some oxygen supply somewhere. I have seen that in hundreds of movies, so it cant be wrong. In the same way i know that cars immediately explode after hitting an obstacle and that keyboards make electrical sparks if something goes wrong - be careful with these - its easy to electrocute yourself.

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#26948075)

"Do you think we have anything remotely like that which we could feasibly launch into orbit?

No, but please don't give these people [slashdot.org] any more marketing ideas.

Re:Does Anyone Remember the Star Wars Defence Prog (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26948225)

Yes, especially if this guy is right about what the Iridium satellite really hit:
USAF Briefing on Iridium Collision [youtube.com]

Coming soon... (1)

Brickwall (985910) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945403)

Duck Dodgers! Space garbageman of the 21st century!

Re:Coming soon... (2, Funny)

WalksOnDirt (704461) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945679)

Duck Dodgers? Did he ever collect space garbage? I think who we really need is Quark [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Coming soon... (1)

Dupple (1016592) | more than 5 years ago | (#26946035)

What? Cheese?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quark_cheese

Re:Coming soon... (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 5 years ago | (#26946417)

Sounds more like a job for Andy Griffith [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Coming soon... (1)

Brickwall (985910) | more than 5 years ago | (#26946617)

You win. A much more appropriate choice. Never saw the show, though.

Roger Wilco! (2, Funny)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#26948049)

Anyone who has played adventure games knows there's no space janitor like Roger Wilco! [spacequest.net]

Geostationairy? (2, Interesting)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945411)

Wait a second. I thought the collision was at like 300mi altitude. Now they'r saying this causes problems at Geosynchronous orbit? I thought GEO was at like 30,000 miles above the earth. Also... I didn't think the shuttle planned on traveling that high anyway.

What am I missing?

Re:Geostationairy? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26945473)

What am I missing?

When they collided at those speeds the debris flew in all directions so I guess enough of it entered lower orbits to cause problems.

Although... how it makes that much difference with all the thousands of other bits of junk out there I dont know.

How long until we really have something like in the anime PlanetES to clean up all the junk out there? I guess it'll happen after someone gets sued for junk they left behind.

Re:Geostationairy? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26945483)

to get into geostationary you have to pass the 300 mile mark. If you were to hit anything on the way.. bad stuff!

Re:Geostationairy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26945643)

But wouldn't a launch to geostationary orbit be one of the least affected by the debris? This guy is basically saying "look to get to my destination I have to cross this toxic stream!" How can he be so egotistical when some other people are forced to live 24/7 in that toxic stream?

Re:Geostationairy? (1)

robbak (775424) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945909)

These satellites are (were?) actually fairly high. They were high for NEO satellites. The only thing higher, really, are the geostationary birds. Hence, they will have to take this new debris cloud into account when launching them.
And as they had enough on their minds when making these things climb up to geostationary already, they're not to happy about it.

Re:Geostationairy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26945957)

"The only thing higher, really, are the geostationary birds." Umm...birds can fly pretty high, but high enough to reach geostationary orbit?

Can i have some of that stuff youre smoking?

Re:Geostationairy? (3, Insightful)

Digicrat (973598) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945689)

Precisely. If this is a problem for geo launches, then the same likely applies to future interplanetary launches (Lunar missions, Mars landers, etc.) as well.

Of course, what we really need is a simple deflector shield to protect our ships . . .

Re:Geostationairy? (5, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945573)

> I thought the collision was at like 300mi altitude. Now they'r saying this causes
> problems at Geosynchronous orbit?

> What am I missing?

The fact that in order to get from here to there one must cross the intervening space.

> I thought GEO was at like 30,000 miles above the earth.

Closer to 22,000.

> I didn't think the shuttle planned on traveling that high anyway.

Some of the wreckage was scattered into orbits that could intersect that of the Shuttle while it is on its way to Hubble.

Re:Geostationairy? (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945899)

Ah! I misread the summary as "Poses threat to spacecraft IN GEO.

I see now it very clearly is only talking about the launches themselves.

Epic Brain Fail.

angular momentum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26945457)

Maybe if you gave the sats a twist at launch, like that provided with rifling grooves of a firearm, they could power on by any chance collision with spacejunk with little deflection.

Or maybe they could borrow those high-pitched whistles that supposedly scare away Canadian geese hanging around airports...

Re:angular momentum (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945493)

And, if you stand against a wall, you won't be knocked over when the firing squad hits you. Trouble is, it isn't the falling over that kills you.

Re:angular momentum (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945591)

Maybe if you gave the sats a twist at launch, like that provided with rifling grooves of a firearm, they could power on by any chance collision with spacejunk with little deflection.

Thanks, Slippy!

Why not just use duranium? (3, Funny)

kbrasee (1379057) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945471)

It isn't that hard, people! We had this stuff 50 years ago on Star Trek.

air force briefing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26945551)

There's a good briefing from the air force up on line about what happened:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBjQvRWDBEE

All in favour (1)

GreenTech11 (1471589) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945567)

All in favour of an orbital vacuum cleaner say AYE

Re:All in favour (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26945601)

Vacuum in a Vacuum? seriously?

Re:All in favour (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945861)

Use a Very Hard vacuum.

Re:All in favour (1)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 5 years ago | (#26946235)

This idea sucks. It'd be cheaper to just rent MegaMaid for a day instead.

invent cleaning satellites (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945583)

satellites that nudge space junk back down in to the atmosphere so it can (hopefully) burn up upon reentry...

Re:invent cleaning satellites (1)

Shivani1141 (996696) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945695)

The problem with that is that any time one of those sattellites nudges a piece of debris down, it's nudging itself upwards, which consumes fuel in directional and orbit adjustments. It would also need some method of firing down and not hitting the earth, ever, or NIMBY idiots would prevent it from getting into orbit.

Re:invent cleaning satellites (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945787)

You mean, like a robot, that pushes stuff around, in space?

Planetes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26945789)

It is so awesome that the slashdot crowd is anime-savvy... And yet, I don't think people going and manually picking up each individual chunk of space debris is a viable idea. Unfortunately, the only thing I can think of is a giant, super-strong fishing net, one end of which would be thrown into space, and when it came falling back, we could just pull on it, and get all the debris it caught back to the surface...

Re: Planetes... (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 5 years ago | (#26946983)

In a similar vein, but a little more practical: foam. Tons of the stuff could be sent up in liquid form, then blown to make a huge ball once in the correct orbit. Something like that would probably trap the smaller particles, and if nothing else slow down the larger fragments enough to make them de-orbit sooner. The foam ball itself would be much easier to track, its high drag would make its orbit decay fairly rapidly, and the low density would ensure this Nerf meteor burns up completely on re-entry.

The only real disadvantage with this from a sci-fi fan's perspective is that is can be done relatively easily with existing technology. No little robots, high energy weapons or exotic supermaterials...yawn...

Re: Planetes... (1)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 5 years ago | (#26947227)

Such a human answer to seeing its own shit - we should make more shit to clean up that shit!

I'll take NASA's word over yours. And besides, dont you realize how silly it sounds to say, "We might have to take some precautions with launch timing," and the solution involves launching something?

Re: Planetes... (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 5 years ago | (#26948369)

Such a human answer to seeing its own shit - we should make more shit to clean up that shit!

It's called "consolidating the problem", and its a proven method cleaning up waste: rather than having to deal with lots of little bits of shit, you make sure the shit gets collected together so you can do something with it.

Sewers work on the same principle (we have to make pipes, pumping stations and treatment plants, and that's making shit to clean up shit). Perhaps you believe it would be better if city-dwellers threw their shit out the window instead...I don't know, maybe you enjoy cholera. Or maybe its a poorly thought out pseudo-philosophical catch phrase intended to give the user a false sense of intellectual superiority without actually having to think...could you enlighten us with a non-human approach, oh exalted being, and remove this doubt?

I'll take NASA's word over yours.

I wasn't aware they'd studied such a proposal and found it unfeasible (link please?). You see, this is just a dumbed-down, scaled-up version of the approach NASA themselves used for trapping particles on the Stardust probe...

And besides, dont you realize how silly it sounds to say, "We might have to take some precautions with launch timing," and the solution involves launching something?

When launching a satellite, we don't want it to be hit, which is why they have to take precautions. With a big foam ball, we do want it to be hit, preferably by as much as possible.

Completely opposite goals.

Don't you realise how silly it sounds when you fail to grasp the situation?

Re: Planetes... (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#26948113)

"No little robots, high energy weapons or exotic supermaterials"

WHAT!!! - Next idea please...

Re: Planetes... (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 5 years ago | (#26948519)

Well, we could add green dye, put big googly eyes on it and call it the "Space Blob". At least the Roger Corman fans will be happy.

Mega Maid (2, Funny)

theJML (911853) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945841)

Apparently we have a need for Mega Maid... hopefully she won't go from suck to blow.

Re:Mega Maid (1)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945979)

Apparently we have a need for Mega Maid... hopefully she won't go from suck to blow.

Like a Michael Bay movie?

km? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26945849)

i think you mean 800km^2

This better not delay the launch of Direct Tv D-12 (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26946023)

This better not delay the launch of Direct Tv D-12 later this year I want the 50 more HD channles.

Re:This better not delay the launch of Direct Tv D (1)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 5 years ago | (#26948837)

Yeah! Nothing like super compressed pixelated bewbies in HD!

We need to do what our neighbors do (5, Funny)

justthisdude (779510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26946149)

All the cool planets sort their space debris into convenient rings using the gravitational pulls of small moons. We just need to invest in placing a few in low orbits and they will quickly destabilize anything in orbits not resonant with their own.

Mod parent up (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26946237)

n/t

meo3 up (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26946159)

Concerns miss mark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26946249)

Iridium [wikipedia.org] satellites are in low-earth orbit. Cosmos 2251 [wikipedia.org] was in low-earth orbit. Therefore space debris are in low-earth orbit, 20,000 miles away from geostationary orbit. If you're going to be concerned about satellites then start with the ones in low-earth orbit.

Re:Concerns miss mark (1)

flewp (458359) | more than 5 years ago | (#26947053)

Maybe I'm missing your point, but....

The debris field is at an altitude that is between geosynchronous orbit and LEO. That means any launch to get into geosynchronous orbit will possibly have to pass through the debris field.

Energy shields, people! (1)

h4x354x0r (1367733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26946335)

We had those on Star Trek 50 years ago too. Just figure those out, and everything will be all right.

Re:Energy shields, people! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26946603)

If we had reactors like they have on Star Trek, we'd probably have energy shields. We already have a technique for making large volumes of cold plasma in an efficient manner. We don't have a way to produce enough power to energize a field like that enough to disperse incoming stuff and also keep it in place via magnetic bottling (or some other technology, but that's the only thing I'm aware of that could do that sort of thing right now.)

Salvage! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26946461)

will gather at a common orbit in 5-6 years.

Good. Start the paperwork for the salvage rights, and go gather the stuff up.

ASAT (1)

TCPhotography (1245814) | more than 5 years ago | (#26946567)

This is why ASAT is so easy. You can do it, without meaning to!

OK OK OK, this'll work (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 5 years ago | (#26947887)

Giant magnets. Seriously. Put a big magnet in orbit in the danger zone, have it re-enter after its gobbled up all the stray iron.

I expect my cheque shortly.

Re:OK OK OK, this'll work (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26948117)

Um, the Earth is a giant magnet.

We need a gigantic vacuum cleaner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26948133)

Suck it all up.

Why did the sats collide ? (2, Interesting)

SlashV (1069110) | more than 5 years ago | (#26948423)

I don't understand why these satellites collided in the first place. I understand NASA tracks pretty much all objects larger than a bolt in orbit. Why wasn't the collisision predicted and prevented ? The Iridium satellite was still active as I understand it, so it must have had some capability still to avoid the collision. Can someone enlighten me here ?
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