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Satellite Debris Forces ISS Crew Into Rescue Craft

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the plenty-of-mint-gum dept.

Space 171

Muad'Dave writes "CNN is reporting that the crew of the International Space Station was forced to take refuge from a possible collision of the ISS with a piece of space debris Thursday. From the article: 'Floating debris from a satellite forced the crew of the international space station to retreat to a safety capsule Thursday, according to a NASA news release. .. The debris was too close for the space station to move out of the way, so the station's three crew members were temporarily evacuated to a the station's Soyuz TMA-13 capsule, NASA said.'" Update: 03/12 18:42 GMT by T : The original story incorrectly said the ISS had 18 crew members. Luckily for the three in the Soyuz, that was a mistake.

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Lasers (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27169935)

This is just another reason to invest in laser defenses. Preferably sharks with fricken' lasers on their heads.

Re:Lasers (5, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170051)

Why didn't they just reverse the polarity on the shields? Do I have to think of everything myself?

Re:Lasers (5, Funny)

inerlogic (695302) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170107)

can't run the shields and the transporter at the same time.....

deflector dish must've been tied up by those assholes in stellar cartography.....

they're always tyin that MFin deflector dish up.....

Re:Lasers (2, Funny)

Ced_Ex (789138) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171481)

The deflector dish was jammed... strawberry flavour I think.

Re:Lasers (4, Funny)

Deag (250823) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170277)

well they probably still have that golf club for the publicity stunt a while back, so they should send one guy out on space walk and have him start swinging.

Re:Lasers (2, Informative)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170713)

FTFA The space station is orbiting at 17,500mph. The debris is moving at 19,800mph. Assuming they are an precisely the same orbit, the debris is still moving at least 2,300mph relative to the station. (And worst case some 35,000mph...)

You might want to rethink trying to hit it with a golf club.

Re:Lasers (5, Funny)

mrdoogee (1179081) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170873)

Yeah, a hockey stick would work much better.

Re:Lasers (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171549)

You might want to rethink trying to hit it with a golf club.

Yeah, a hockey stick would work much better.

Happy Gilmore, is that you?

Re:Lasers (5, Funny)

Plunky (929104) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170915)

Gee, imagine if every time something was a teensy bit difficult we didn't even try..

Re:Lasers (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170957)

Not to mention that they couldn't figure out where the debris was headed - It missed the ISS by almost 3 miles. Whoever was tasked with knocking the thing down would have to have really good eyes to see the thing incoming and be able to throw that golf club really accurately.

Re:Lasers (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171117)

Throw? Son, they were suppose to tee off. FORE!

Bounce the graviton particle beam... (0, Redundant)

Jon.Laslow (809215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170397)

...off the main deflector dish, that's the way we do things lad, we're making shit up as we wish!

Re:Bounce the graviton particle beam... (1)

xaositects (786749) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171399)

Space junk and golf clubs they post no threat to us, cause if we find we're in a bind....

Too bad NASA is not as creative as Gene Roddenberry (or Voltaire)

Re:Lasers (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170571)

is it just me or is the moderator abuse getting a lot worse in the last month or so. the first 50 comments in any random thread seem to get really unfair downmods that are later reversed.

of course when i meta-mod i never get any comments that have actually been modded, so i can't rate them as unfair. thus, these users will continue to get points...

Re:Lasers (4, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170777)

An excellent plan, sir, with just 2 major drawbacks: (1) We don't have any shields, and (2) we don't have a any shields. I realize this is technically just one drawback, but I thought it was so important it was worth mentioning twice.

Re:Lasers (1)

inerlogic (695302) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170943)

oooo good play with the RD reference....

Re:Lasers (1)

Sabathius (566108) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171593)

Or...hit the debris with an inverse-tachyon pulse from the primary array! Yeah, that's the ticket.

Soyuz is invincible. (4, Insightful)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169971)

I swear, that Soyuz module will never die, considering how old it is.

Re:Soyuz is invincible. (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170173)

When I first heard about this, all I could think was, "what happens if the space debris hits the Soyuz?"

Re:Soyuz is invincible. (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170227)

Cleaning up all the junk in orbit suddenly becomes an "action item". But the Soyuz is a much smaller, much sturdier target.

Re:Soyuz is invincible. (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171547)

I'd like to just see them stop creating so much space debris - I'm still pretty pissed over the Chinese blowing up their sat and leaving junk in a useful orbit...

OK - The next person to kick a toaster out the airlock gets a month in the brig. Sorry, that's the way it has to be.

Re:Soyuz is invincible. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170247)

If it hits the Soyuz, you just exit the module and seal the airlock. On the other hand, if you're on the far side of the station and it puts a hole in that much larger target, you're in a somewhat more precarious predicament.

Additionally, as the Soyuz is intended to return to earth, with all the stresses and such involved in that, it can probably withstand an impact better than the much less robust station.

Re:Soyuz is invincible. (4, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171187)

Sturdy or not, objects hitting you while going a couple of thousand miles per hour (relative to your own speed) tend to leave a lasting (if not final) impression.

Re:Soyuz is invincible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27171403)

Perhaps this brings up the bigger question: can ISS crews respond on slashdot, to let us know if something like that happened, and if they could, would they then be modded as flamebait? (That is a terrible, terrible joke. I do apologize.)

Re:Soyuz is invincible. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170569)

Apparently by your criteria I will never die because I age~

I like that line of thinking.

Re:Soyuz is invincible. (1)

Trent Hawkins (1093109) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170659)

I swear, that Soyuz module will never die, considering how old it is.

Soyuz nerushimy respublik svobodnykh
Splotila naveki velikaya Rus'...
:-)

18 crew members! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27169999)

Wow!

Re:18 crew members! (2, Informative)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170099)

Timothy strikes again!

Re:18 crew members! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27171337)

How does one become an editor anyway?

Nice reporting (4, Funny)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170015)

18 crew memebers? Are they shooting a Girls Gone Wild video up there or something?

Re:Nice reporting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170033)

I'd buy that.

Re:Nice reporting (5, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170353)

I'd bittorrent that.

Fixed that for you

Re:Nice reporting (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170403)

... for a dollar.

Re:Nice reporting (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170119)

TFA says 3 crew members. If there's an additional 15 GGW up there, then I'd be making every excuse to stay inside too.

Re:Nice reporting (1)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170299)

The article has been edited and changed. It originally had 18. The summary should probably re cut and paste to update this and end the confusion.

Re:Nice reporting (2, Insightful)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170431)

This is Slashdot, there will be a dupe tonight by kdawson where the number will be changed. Don't expect it to be right then either though.

Re:Nice reporting (2, Funny)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171465)

You're right. And I for one am beginning to question how they got 213 midgets and a donkey in the space station.

Re:Nice reporting (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170121)

That was my thought. I figured that the ISS could hold 12 max.

Soyez can hold 3. I would love to know how they put 18 in there.

Re:Nice reporting (1)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170441)

It's like the old phone booth trick.

Re:Nice reporting (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170509)

Soyez can hold 3. I would love to know how they put 18 in there..

The same way you put 50 Jews into a VW Beetle. Three in the seats and the remainder in the ashtray.

Re:Nice reporting (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170603)

Soyez can hold 3. I would love to know how they put 18 in there..

The same way you put 50 Jews into a VW Beetle. Three in the seats and the remainder in the ashtray.

That's fucked up!

Re:Nice reporting (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170821)


It's not what you think. They weren't cremated, someone told them that there was a nickel in the bottom of the ashtray and they dived in after it.

Re:Nice reporting (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170909)

Soyez can hold 3. I would love to know how they put 18 in there..

The same way you put 50 Jews into a VW Beetle. Three in the seats and the remainder in the ashtray.

You really put the SS in the ISS don't you?

They will call it.. (1)

bdwoolman (561635) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171495)

The Astra Naughties. It ends with one clad only in a diaper... Oh, wait!

Eighteen!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170027)

Eighteen people seems like way too many for a Soyuz!

18 Crew? (3, Insightful)

Obasan (28761) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170029)

... or Expedition 18?

Re:18 Crew? (1)

Renegade88 (874837) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170245)

Bingo

How many crew members? (1)

Mindwarp (15738) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170031)

18 crew members? What, are they having some kind of party up there? Did somebody drop in unannounced?

18 crew members? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170057)

Umm...since when does the ISS have 18 crew members? Last I'd heard it was 3 and going to be doubled to 6 in the next few months.

18 Crew members! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170061)

Wow, they certainly are getting busy up there.

3 people on board, not 18 (3, Informative)

GottMitUns (1012191) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170063)

There are 3 individuals on board: 2 Americans and 1 Russian.

So androids don't count, huh? (2, Funny)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170159)

Bigot! Someday we will rise up against our . . . uh, oh, never mind. Human here. Not an escaped replicant.

Re:3 people on board, not 18 (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171591)

There are 3 individuals on board: 2 Americans and 1 Russian.

So that leaves 15 unaccounted for! Did they fall out a hole made by the debris?

if all that air escapes the station (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170075)

how does that effect junk in orbit around
the iss' altitude?

Expedition 18 to the ISS. Not 18 members. (4, Informative)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170095)

The current expedition is Expedition 18. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expedition_18 [wikipedia.org] . This likely got garbled at some point from something like "Expedition 18 Crew" to "18 crew."

Re: Expedition 18 to the ISS. Not 18 members. (1)

Mindwarp (15738) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170155)

I was just imagining the 'clown car' version of the Soyuz.

Re: Expedition 18 to the ISS. Not 18 members. (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171085)

NASA is working on it

TMA-13? (2, Funny)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170101)

WTF? Are they hauling them back from Jupiter now?

18 People? (0, Redundant)

gweihir (88907) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170235)

I thought they flew only 3 up that are still there. They shure breed fast in orbit....

In other news (4, Funny)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170269)

.... slashdope editors were hit in the head with falling space debris today, further complicating their inability to detect sloppy facts.

This has not impacted their availability and readers are cautioned to continue questioning anything masquerading as fact.

Oblig. Scotty quote (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170749)

I canno' change the laws o' slashdot... I mean, physics!

Re:In other news (2, Funny)

Sleepy (4551) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170995)

... There goes your ability to EVER moderate posts again... ;-)

Re:In other news (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171513)

> "Update: 03/12 18:42 GMT by T [monkey.org] : The original story incorrectly said the ISS had 18 crew members. Luckily for the three in the Soyuz, that was a mistake."

Hey, T [monkey.org] , the three already in the Soyuz would be protected, right? Regardless of how many more there may or may not have been... They don't need luck.

Makes no sense ya mah'rune.

Opportunity is perfect (1, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170281)

Now is the time for private investors to step forward with solutions. For example a small craft to grab and safely drop items (lower their speeds at the right time ) could take down items that are 30 CM and bigger. Perhaps, system for taking down whole sats. Keep in mind that working sats have to maneuver around them, which is a lose in energy. No doubt countries or even insurance companies would pay for this.

Re:Opportunity is perfect (2, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170653)

What if you used an ion drive and a fuel system for quick maneuvering. Maybe soemthing that can dock with the Space Station for refueling?

Re:Opportunity is perfect (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170769)

Could also do the cable idea. That would allow you to speed up/slow down so that you move in altitudes. Then use small ion drive (or even draco thrusters) to manuever around. Ideally, a company would build a larger system that can hook up to whole sats and de-orbit them, without having to go down themselves. Then use that as a tug to move other systems around including hooking up to a smaller system that is designed to capture or slow down increasingly smaller parts. As far as paying for it, simply take an estimate of parts and size, and then charge a price to those that want their items de-orbitted. Ideally, govs will start holding companies and themselves culpable for their garbage. This would also cause future companies to re-design launches as well as sats.

Re:Opportunity is perfect (4, Informative)

david.given (6740) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170811)

For example a small craft to grab and safely drop items (lower their speeds at the right time ) could take down items that are 30 CM and bigger.

Harder than you'd think. To deorbit a fragment like this you need to:

  1. Change your orbit to match that of the fragment
  2. Rendezvous with fragment, then grab it
  3. Change your orbit to intersect the atmosphere, then let go of the fragment
  4. Change your orbit so that you don't deorbit

So that's three major orbital manoeuvres, per fragment. And that sort of stuff is really expensive: in order to move from a circular orbit around the equator to a circular orbit around the pole, you need twice the delta-V that you used to get into orbit in the first place!

So it would probably be cheaper to use a single disposable vehicle that you launch to a specific debris cloud, and then it collects as much crap as it can and then deorbits. But even that's going to be a major project --- and much of the debris up there right now is on the order of paint flecks, which are damn hard to pick up (or even find).

So this sort of thing isn't nearly as simple as it first sounds...

Re:Opportunity is perfect (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171081)

Odd.
I would have done it radically different for the items that I mentioned (10 cm's up to a set size).
  1. Change your orbit to match that of the fragment
  2. Rendezvous with fragment, then grab it
  3. Then kick it out the back, with a greatly reduced speed (perhaps spring loaded? or behind an ion drive?), allowing gravity to pull it down.

Of course, I was picking particular sizes for a reason.

When it is a bigger systems, such as a Sat, then it might be nice to put a small disposable system together.
Finally, when it comes to smaller pieces such as the paint flecks, yeah, none of these are going to work. Of course, Lasers/ water bags, etc might work.

Re:Opportunity is perfect (2, Informative)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171091)

So that's three major orbital manoeuvres, per fragment.

You make it too complicated. You don't have to pick up the fragment, move yourself, then drop the fragment. You just have to exchange velocity with the fragment during a very brief interaction, flinging you every-so-slightly outside your orbit,and flinging it every-so-slightly inside it's orbit. Gravity takes care of the rest.

much of the debris up there right now is on the order of paint flecks, which are damn hard to pick up (or even find).

Again, too complicated. What you need is something large, light weight, and sticky. A simple cylinder filled with an aero-gel just needs to fly through the debris cloud, letting the pieces impact the gel and get stuck there. The added mass, plus decreased speed, would automatically deorbit the collector.

Re:Opportunity is perfect (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171233)

A simple cylinder filled with an aero-gel just needs to fly through the debris cloud,

An enormous cylinder filled with aero-gel ... (or sharks or lawyers or whatever)

You're neglecting how mind bogglety big space is. Don't think debris cloud, think "large areas of volume with a few tiny little bits of dangerous, fast moving matter". It's not like you can see the debris from afar. No "on deck there! There be debris!". No space Roombas.

Re:Opportunity is perfect (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171247)

For example a small craft to grab and safely drop items (lower their speeds at the right time ) could take down items that are 30 CM and bigger.

Harder than you'd think. To deorbit a fragment like this you need to:

  1. Change your orbit to match that of the fragment
  2. Rendezvous with fragment, then grab it
  3. Change your orbit to intersect the atmosphere, then let go of the fragment
  4. Change your orbit so that you don't deorbit

So that's three major orbital manoeuvres, per fragment. And that sort of stuff is really expensive: in order to move from a circular orbit around the equator to a circular orbit around the pole, you need twice the delta-V that you used to get into orbit in the first place!

So it would probably be cheaper to use a single disposable vehicle that you launch to a specific debris cloud, and then it collects as much crap as it can and then deorbits. But even that's going to be a major project --- and much of the debris up there right now is on the order of paint flecks, which are damn hard to pick up (or even find).

So this sort of thing isn't nearly as simple as it first sounds...

All new satellites need passive deorbiting features. I read a journal article a couple years ago which stated that a few pounds of very thin, very long metal cable that would release and trail out behind a satellite for something like many hundreds of meters would produce enough drag to take down things in low Earth orbit in the few months to few years time frame.

Re:Opportunity is perfect (1)

codemaster2b (901536) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171023)

Okay, objects in geosynchronous orbit have a velocity of 18000 miles/hr or greater, and relative to each other than could even double (but if you were very good, you could match orbits). So, how exactly do you grab one?

Re:Opportunity is perfect (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171173)

Let me see if I understand this right. We have for multiple generations had space crafts joining up together at 17500 mph (same orbit, same direction, ALMOST the same speed), and you think that something that is higher altitude, and moving slightly faster is a big deal???????? Really?

Re:Opportunity is perfect (1)

codemaster2b (901536) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171431)

Yes sir, I do. 18000 mph is 5 miles/sec. What instruments do we have that can measure and track anything like that? If you were in a space craft, and something went past you at that speed, you would not be able to detect it at all. We can join craft together because we already know precisely where everything is, and how fast its going. And to be fair, we do know where a large number of space junk is, so you could in theory set up an operation to manually track down and grab anything that can be tracked from earth.

Re:Opportunity is perfect (1)

Sleepy (4551) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171037)

How about just opening the shuttle windows, and firing on the debris with a BB gun?

Works against those pesky kids on my lawn...

Re:Opportunity is perfect (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171313)

Ever wonder where all those dings on your truck and house windows are coming from? Not from the semi's driving in your front yard. Let a kid know that you have a BB Gun and are not afraid to use it, and they will be happy to show you theirs.

t his is goatsex (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170343)

Keed to be Kreskin subscribers. Please is perhaps pOsts. Therefore long term survival

Irony (3, Insightful)

diablovision (83618) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170417)

What would be ironic is if the space junk hit the Soyuz capsule when they were in it. Probably not the best strategy to put all the eggs in one basket in that case.

Build that water cannon! (1)

oftenwrongsoong (1496777) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170481)

Yap. They really need to build that big laser/water cannon to blast this stuff out of orbit. I heard there's all kinds of nonsense floating around up there. Office chairs from Washington State among other things.

Re:Build that water cannon! (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170573)

They really need to build that big laser/water cannon to blast this stuff out of orbit

I didn't read the article the other day (being /., why would I bother?) but wouldn't the water cannon wind up leaving ice particles floating around up there? Wouldn't re-supplying it be a PITA?

Re:Build that water cannon! (1)

fataugie (89032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170685)

There you go again....letting pesky details get in the way of a good story.

This is starting to get silly... (2, Interesting)

NoNeeeed (157503) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170521)

At some point all those agencies (government and private) who have put that junk up there are going to have to get together and find a solution. That includes all the private sat operators who have left stuff up there as well as the national space agencies.

At the moment everyone seems to be saying, "well, it's not *all* my mess, so I'm not cleaning it up". At some point this is going to start impacting (literally) everyone involved with space. We've already lost a few satellites, how many more do we need to lose before people get off their arses and find a proper solution.

You could probably work out the approximate proportions of the total problem were caused by each agency/company, so divide the bill up accordingly.

Of course, anyone who has watched engineers divide up the bill in a restaurant will know that probably isn't as easy as it sounds...

Re:This is starting to get silly... (3, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170677)

Just say who ever pays the biggest portion gets to put weapons in space~

Debris Details (5, Informative)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170533)

From Space.com [space.com] :

The wayward satellite motor part came from an outdated PAM-D rocket engine that was once used to boost a satellite from low-Earth orbit a few hundred miles above Earth out to a geosynchronous position about 22,300 miles (36,000 km) above the planet. The debris was small, just 1/3 of an inch long, and was flying at about 19,800 mph, NASA officials said. The space station orbits the Earth at about 17,500 mph.

Here's a picture [wikipedia.org] of a PAM-D motor.

Who is to blame? (5, Insightful)

Dripdry (1062282) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170567)

Who is to blame as this happens more often? Is there going to be a tracking mechanism that shows exactly whose debris causes damage to a craft?
It seems to me that if countries are going to be so irresponsible as to not decommission their craft and satellites correctly they ought to either clean it up or pay a very hefty fine to reimburse the loss of a country's hard-earned space mission.

For instance, if China treats space the way they treat many other things (ie little or no regard for its preservation, pardon the sweeping statement) then what recourse will other countries have? If they have a project which has cost a nation billions of dollars and a small piece of shrapnel knocks out the whole damn thing, what happens next?

I'm sure someone will get paid big bucks to make a solution, but it sure sounds like space debris is quickly becoming a problem. Maybe it's just coincidence, though.

Re:Who is to blame? (1)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170797)

For instance, if China treats space the way they treat many other things (ie little or no regard for its preservation, pardon the sweeping statement) then what recourse will other countries have?

It's particularly difficult to pardon the hypocrisy your sweeping statement if, as I suspect, you happen to be in North America.

Re:Who is to blame? (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171033)

What do you have against Mexicans? It's not like AEXA is putting up a whole lot of rockets. Or actually even doing a lot of existing.

Re:Who is to blame? (1)

Sleepy (4551) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171093)

It's good to remind America not to get on it's high horse about this (*ahem* Mountain removal, and the blind eye the US media turns to it...).

On the other hand, we didn't sink all our oldest culture under 3 Gorges Dam, and we don't deliberately put melamine poison onto food, toys, and baby formula. Weak as our FDA is, they check on these things...

Re:Who is to blame? (1)

Dripdry (1062282) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171511)

Hypocrisy or not, I was looking for an informed discussion as opposed to culture wars or finger-pointing.

And why is it particularly difficult to pardon? Have you conflated what my country/government does with my actions? Why am I suddenly the Supreme Envoy of The United States? I am quite tired of the rest of the world rabbiting on about the USA's hypocrisy while they themselves commit similar acts.

I do my tiny part to correct the kinds of missteps The States make but one person (most people) can only do so much. So wherever you are perhaps it makes more sense to be understanding of those who want to change things and not automatically lump us together. Our policies, fine. As individual people? Then you've entered Ignorance Central.

Re:Who is to blame? (-1, Flamebait)

chord.wav (599850) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170839)

If you are going to pick a country name for a bad example, please, start with yours. Choosing China only makes you look naive to the rest of the world.

Re:Who is to blame? (1)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171507)

Oh, I'm sure the reason OP didn't come up with a better example is that he was being crushed by a fucking tank. Come on -- China is what the Bush regime aspired to be like.

Re:Who is to blame? (1)

pacinpm (631330) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171675)

For instance, if China treats space the way they treat many other things (ie little or no regard for its preservation, pardon the sweeping statement)[...]

USA is no better than China (in fact all the countries have their part of sins). Just remember when USA reduced CFC emission?

Note The Source (2, Interesting)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170731)

The debris wasn't from a smashed satellite, either from collision with another or blasted by a missile. It was their own trash, "a piece of a satellite rocket motor left behind by an earlier space shuttle mission". The chances of something from an entirely different orbit impacting a craft are still infinitesimal. To quote the philosopher Adams "Space is big. Really big. You wouldn't believe how mind-boggling big it is." Compare to broken junk floating around even near Earth orbit is that big.

More accurate early warning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170993)

Since the removal of the space debris is a long-term effort if not an intractable problem at the moment, what about deploying a large screen, such as an unfurled mylar sheet, that can detect when it's been punctured and the size of the punction and place it into the same orbit as the ISS but 1/2 orbit in front. If it detects a puncture of sufficient size to be of concern, it could warn the ISS of debris on the way and provide 45 minutes of notice to get into the escape capsule or other protective enclosure.

Re:More accurate early warning (2, Interesting)

rjmx (233228) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171075)

Trouble with that idea is that it'll only detect objects in almost exactly the same orbit as the ISS. And if they are in the same orbit, their velocities will be almost identical (Kepler's third law, correct?), and so the object will probably never catch the ISS (and if it did, their relative velocities would be quite low).

From the differences in velocity mentioned in the space.com article, I'd guess that the debris is moving in a much more elliptical orbit than the ISS is. Makes it lots harder to detect.

Look, we're gonna have to do this... (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171059)

...so let's do it right the first few times:

1. Send up a net to catch the big stuff. The size of the net and opening determines how many nets we send up. throw the net at Earth. Stuff burns up. The final net will probably more like mesh. On to step 2.

2. Send up a disk of Aerogel. We did this on a smaller scale [spaceref.com] to capture comet debris. We don't need to get this one back, it can burn up when we throw this at Earth also. But if it doesn't burn, just aim it at the Pacific. Or Russia, some if it is their stuff after all. I live to close to the Iridium home, so that's out of the question, right?

3. Mop up the remainder with variations on the theme.

4. Profit!

We're gonna have to do it. Let's do it right. And we will learn a lot about LEO maneuvering, targeting, robotics in space, etc. We can let the Chinese or the Russians, or the Japanese join in, maybe even Canada or India, some nations that wanna learn space stuff. And we could probably get some commercial outfit to bid on it.

This is a tremendous opportunity, actually. A few $B should cover it. We spend that every week on landfills. Let's just do it.

Yuo fail i7!? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27171689)

in any 3ay related was whMat got me

The McGuyver Solution (1)

Orig_Club_Soda (983823) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171721)

Add a proximity radar and a 10 foot radius shield on a pool cleaner type arm. Using some basic hydraulics they could position the shield between the station and oncoming objects.

(-1 for having an opinion!)

18 is only estimated count (0, Redundant)

dvh.tosomja (1235032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171729)

Number 18 was estimated from the actual consumption of alcohol divided by average consumption of american astronaut. The whole difference was caused by pressence of one russian kosmonaut on board.

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