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Nuclear 'Asteroids' Due In A Few Hundred Years

timothy posted about 10 years ago | from the happy-birthday-to-you-happy-birthday-to-you dept.

Space 589

easyCoder writes "In this space.com article, it mentions a RORSAT satellite that has been leaking radioactive coolant, leaving little droplets of it in orbit around our planet. However, further down, it also mentions this, quoted here for maximum impact: 'After a RORSATs tour-of-duty was over, the reactor's fuel core was shot high above Earth into a "disposal orbit." Once at that altitude the power supply unit would take several hundred years before it reentered the Earth's atmosphere.' Wow. So ... our great-grandchildren can expect a lovely day, partly cloudy with the occasional nuclear reactor plummeting down from outer space."

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589 comments

Grand children? (4, Funny)

monstroyer (748389) | about 10 years ago | (#8711723)

Grand children? I'm celibate by popular demand you insensitive clod!

Re:Grand children? (3, Insightful)

Flingles (698457) | about 10 years ago | (#8711770)

This guy is going well, age wise if he can have great grand-children alive in several hundred years. I assume several hundred is at least 300, probably more. For 300- This means he must have a child in 75 years, who will have a grandchild in 75 years, who will then have the great granchild in 75 years, and now it is 225 years later, and this great grandchild will have to live 75 years just so he can get infected.

Not that I'm pedantic or anything

Quick, patent the lead-encased umbrella (5, Funny)

valhallaprime (749304) | about 10 years ago | (#8711727)

By then Skynet will be in control, let it be the "Machines" problem.

The real tragedy (2, Funny)

zedmelon (583487) | about 10 years ago | (#8711777)

Somewhere in this article is the potential for a "Soviet Russia" line that's actually funny, and yet no one's posted it.

Watch Out! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711731)

Look out! Nulcear Sputnik!

Everyone under there desks!

Re:Watch Out! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711882)

Nulcear Dubya, y'all posting on this here slash dot thingy now? Dang!

(Posting anony b'cause of that ol' Ronald Dumsfeld and the DuHS).

Our great grandchildren can also expect..... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711733)

...wildly positive articles that Linux is just about to break big and take over the desktop from Microsoft. ;)

They'll be able to deal with it.... (5, Insightful)

dew-genen-ny (617738) | about 10 years ago | (#8711734)

....in a couple of hundred years, I'd be most depressed if they can't deal with a small nuclear reactor falling back to earth.

I mean we're meant to be progressing in our knowledge and abilities, no?

Re:They'll be able to deal with it.... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711756)

"I mean we're meant to be progressing in our knowledge and abilities, no?"

The environmentalist, anti-nuke, anti-industry, anti-technology groups are going to do everything in their power to see that we don't.

Re:They'll be able to deal with it.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711861)

Are they? Liar.

Re:They'll be able to deal with it.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711766)

....in a couple of hundred years, I'd be most depressed if they can't deal with a small nuclear reactor falling back to earth.

Yeah and we'll all have flying cars!

I mean we're meant to be progressing in our knowledge and abilities, no?

Yes but not to a timetable. We'll probably have different sorts of entertainment systems but just assuming that we'll be able to deal with whatever problems we've chosen to put off today is... wilful blindness is the most polite description I could think of to finish that sentence.

Re:They'll be able to deal with it.... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711895)

yeah I am a bomb defusal expert with the government, and I want my kid (14 yr old) to follow in my footsteps.

I plant a different bomb under his bed each night and before he goes to sleep he has to defuse it. He hasn't failed yet, but I would be dissapointed in the progress of his knowledge and abilities if he did.

Re:They'll be able to deal with it.... (5, Insightful)

RallyNick (577728) | about 10 years ago | (#8711929)

Not only that they're likely to be able to handle them without huge costs, but the most dangerous radioactive components will probably be gone by that time. So you'll have a bunch of somewhat harmless spent uranium burning in the atmosphare and spreading over a wide area.

Wouldn't be the first one (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711735)

The Soviets have lost one or two before that have burned up, and no I'm not just talking RTG's. And since I only have 3 heads, not 5 and none of them is green, I'm not particularly worried.

Re:Wouldn't be the first one (5, Informative)

deniable (76198) | about 10 years ago | (#8711802)

Do a search for "Cosmos 954" It still had its power source when it hit Canada in 1978. And yeah, I'm not worried either. The stuff spread over a wide area, and as my Dad was tought in the '60s, the solution to pollution is dilution.

Ob5thElement (4, Funny)

dacarr (562277) | about 10 years ago | (#8711736)

Kid: How long do we have?

Professor: About... 300 years.

Kid: ...so we have a little time.

Re:Ob5thElement (2, Informative)

mog007 (677810) | about 10 years ago | (#8711867)

At least quote it correctly:

Student: So when is this 'snake act' supposed to occur?

Archeologist: Well... if this is the 5, and this is the 1, every five thousand years.

Student: So... I've got some time....

They'll be fine (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711737)

Once they launch CowboyNeals cryogenic ass into it.

Thundarr (4, Funny)

davejenkins (99111) | about 10 years ago | (#8711738)

By then, Nuclear war will have happened, and humans will be back to the stone age, or at least some quasi-magick age like in Thundarr The Barbarian. When this thing lands, an evil wizard will use its powers to "make lightning" come out of a stick or something.

That will be cool.

They are nuclear (5, Informative)

SEWilco (27983) | about 10 years ago | (#8711740)

Probably most asteroids have some radioactive material in them. The metallic asteroids have more metals than we have available on Earth, including fissionables.

Not that it matters much what an asteroid is made of when it's landing on you.

Re:They are nuclear (4, Informative)

Talez (468021) | about 10 years ago | (#8711919)

It doesn't look like earth re-entry is the problem. The problem is that whizzing around earth are fairly large droplets which will cause major damage to most things that are in LEO.

I doubt it. (4, Interesting)

Skynet (37427) | about 10 years ago | (#8711741)

I would hope in a few hundred years we have the technical expertise to do an "orbital cleanup" job and get rid of all the crap floatind around the Earth.

Maybe zap them with laser beams!

Re:I doubt it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711788)

I would hope in a few hundred years we have the technical expertise to do an "orbital cleanup" job and get rid of all the crap floatind around the Earth.

That's always a good solution to a problem. Just hope that someone else solves it later.

Re:I doubt it. (1)

Joel Carr (693662) | about 10 years ago | (#8711800)

Maybe zap them with laser beams!

Then we'll probably have lots of little pieces of orbiting space junk! :-/

---

Re:I doubt it. (1, Funny)

ryanw (131814) | about 10 years ago | (#8711826)

I would hope in a few hundred years we have the technical expertise to do an "orbital cleanup" job and get rid of all the crap floatind around the Earth.

Maybe zap them with laser beams!
Due to bush's new missions to the moon and mars we'll probably have a good moonbase in the next 50 years. Why don't we ship a bunch of rednecks upto the moon with guns and let them take care of the space junk?

WHEW! (5, Funny)

zedmelon (583487) | about 10 years ago | (#8711744)

""The concentration was so high that, whatever the source, it represented the most significant impact hazard for spacecraft operating at those altitudes... and still does today," Kessler said."

Boy, I'm sure glad I gave up that career in space flight and instead opted for becoming a laid-off IT guy. And my guidance counselor said I couldn't make a good decision...

Hopefully (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711745)

In a couple hundred years, they'll be able to clean it up before it causes problems. If not, then humanity probably isn't progressing much, and it won't be that great of a loss.

don't you mean meteors? (4, Insightful)

goon america (536413) | about 10 years ago | (#8711746)

Asteroids != meteors. This is about them entering the Earth's atmosphere eventually, right? So, shouldn't we be expecting nuclear 'meteors'?

Don't you mean meteoroids meteorites? (1, Informative)

0mni (734493) | about 10 years ago | (#8711792)

A meteor is the flash of light that a interstellar object causes etering out atmosphere,the stuff going through the atmosphere is called meteoroid if it vapourizes before hitting the ground, or if it lands its called be a meteorite.

Re:don't you mean meteors? (2, Informative)

GreatTeacherMusashi (717399) | about 10 years ago | (#8711794)

not quite, although the term asteroid is in fact incorrect because asteroids are strictly considered to be objects from the asteroid belt between mars and jupiter. Meteors is probably the closest term, but again this is something manmade so calling it by it's name is probably the best term but if you had to use something probably meteor or meteorite

Re:don't you mean meteors? (1)

NanoGator (522640) | about 10 years ago | (#8711877)

"Asteroids != meteors. This is about them entering the Earth's atmosphere eventually, right? So, shouldn't we be expecting nuclear 'meteors'?"

They aren't meteor(ites?)s today, so no.

Futurama (2, Funny)

mrselfdestrukt (149193) | about 10 years ago | (#8711750)

Am I the only one thinking about the Futurama "A big piece of garbage" episode? The best way to solve this would be to shoot up another reactor to deflect the falling one...

What about using the "Star Wars" lasers? (2, Interesting)

Phoenixhunter (588958) | about 10 years ago | (#8711753)

Well we've invested in the laser technology haven't we? And those things were designed to cook nuclear missiles...

Re:What about using the "Star Wars" lasers? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711878)

uh, lasers make radioactive things non-radioactive?

gee, wouldn't that be sweet.

sorry, no. the startwars thing was just meant to make icbm's strategically useless by having them fail to reach target. so it's like you shoot for the states, but actually just litter france and canada, see? mayber wyoming on a bad day.

and they didn't actually do the starwars laser thing. right now you got a missle program that doesn't work (further failures, i mean tests, will be secret to keep the heat off funding, thanks to rumy), and there's still no solution at all for mylar balloon decoys.

but what the heck, that system might be able to stop a returning sat core from hitting the whitehouse, sure

i'd like to say i appreciate your innocence and optimisim. you've got what makes america great. it was a pleasure talking to you mr.bush, and anytime you want to drop by again we'll be here for you.

Just how much material are we talking about here? (4, Interesting)

RollingThunder (88952) | about 10 years ago | (#8711754)

How much material are we talking? Will this be a major event to the earth, or will the upper atmosphere just shrug and eat it up?

It's a pretty freaking big planet. If we're talking about 5kg of fissionables, that seems pretty small to me compared to the daily dosage the planet gets from the sun - although I do understand there's one hell of a difference between solar radiation and vaporous uranium - the latter's toxic as well as radioactive, iirc.

Re:Just how much material are we talking about her (3, Interesting)

phonex98 (686395) | about 10 years ago | (#8711796)

that seems pretty small to me compared to the daily dosage the planet gets from the sun - although I do understand there's one hell of a difference between solar radiation and vaporous uranium - the latter's toxic as well as radioactive, iirc.

However.. the earths magnetic field, stratosphere and all of that other junk up there in the sky protects us from most of the most harmful damage of the sun, whereas 5KG of fissionables wouldnt be Dilluted by the earth's atmosphere!

Re:Just how much material are we talking about her (1)

SemperFiDownUnda (661388) | about 10 years ago | (#8711918)

If it comes down in 1 clump. If it burns up in the atmosphere then you won't even notice it when it get dispursed amoungst the tons of natural radioactive dust particles that bombard our planet constantly. Sheessh

Re:Just how much material are we talking about her (4, Informative)

bm_luethke (253362) | about 10 years ago | (#8711911)

There is also a difference between having the suns radiation hit your skin and breathing radioactive material that bond to the calcium in your bones delivering a 24/7 does of radiation to a single spot.

You can stand on a floor of strontium 90 every day and not really be affected (well, I think there are parts of your skin thin enough that the radiation will cause problems), breath a few particles of it and some Bad Things will happen.

I think the stuff talked about here make strontium 90 look good. Some of that stuff takes VERY little though yellow and magenta chains grant immunity to radiation (Ok, inside joke, govt labs use yellow and magenta plastic chains to rope off radioactive areas with no other explaination leaving you wondering what the actual contamination is from. Nothing like a 2 foot square hole in the hall in front of your office with one of those chains around the very edge of the hole).

Simple-minded solution (2, Insightful)

Jarnis (266190) | about 10 years ago | (#8711755)

The guy who decided this was a great idea was smart. By the time it comes down, he won't be around to take blame for his smart plan, and most likely his immediate children wont be either. It's Someone Else's Problem(tm)! Thinking further into the future would require too many brain cells and/or would demand convincing stupid beancounters that they should spend crapload of money to actually *fix* the issue instead of pushing it to future generations.

A view that is so common in our society today. It's *so* much fun to find yourself in crappy situations during your workday all the time, caused by the same mentality - "Out of sight, out of mind" and "Whew, got rid of the problem for now. Next time it's someone else's problem". Yeah, you can try spending time finding out who's to blame, but usually the idiot has covered his tracks well enough so that it's not worth the effort - easier just to permanently handle the situation (or, like lots of people enjoy to do - push it back so it becomes YET AGAIN someone else's problem)

No Pure Genius (2, Funny)

bstadil (7110) | about 10 years ago | (#8711804)

No you are wrong. The guy was afraid the space program was going wither away and all space capabilities disappear.

By doing what he did he secured that we as a race will have the capabilities to catch this sucker and render it harmless when it arrives.

Good forward thinking ;-)

Whine, whine. (5, Insightful)

momerath2003 (606823) | about 10 years ago | (#8711760)

A little radiation won't kill anyone. Sheesh. The amount of radiation released by the NaK coolant drops (especially after being vaporized on hitting the atmosphere) will be negligible.

Once again, the media makes a big deal out of a little thing.

(Note that this doesn't excuse the Soviets' lack of foresight on the reactor. Then again, they did manage Chernobyl...)

I saw that Futurama Episode... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711762)

... but these things always seemed funny because nobody was stupid enough to actually do them.

I. DON'T. CARE. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711764)

I do not plan to be working for RORSAT a few hundred years from now, so my great-great-great successor to my job as CEO can deal with it. The only thing I am concerned about is the health of my stock portfolio, which thanks to recent NASDAQ surges, is looking VERY healthy indeed.

Keep your fingers on the next RORSAT launch, scheduled for next month. It should pad my stock earnings another few million dollars.

Evolution in progress... (-1)

CyanDisaster (530718) | about 10 years ago | (#8711765)

Now, instead of evolving, they'll be mutating. Joy...

Hope be with ye,
Cyan

Re:Evolution in progress... (0, Offtopic)

Travoltus (110240) | about 10 years ago | (#8711782)

Evolution is the result of nature inflicting random mutations in the gene pool.

Re:Evolution in progress... (0)

Channard (693317) | about 10 years ago | (#8711903)

Really? I heard it was the final nail in the coffin of David Duchovny's acting career.

what's up with the mods on crack? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711868)

this is an utterly unfair moderation :(

Good thing we aren't fish. (2, Funny)

JanMark (547992) | about 10 years ago | (#8711767)

Since 3/4 of the surface is watter, it has a high chance of hitting the watter. Maybe by that time we have a satalite fall out fall down forcast appended to the wether forcast: "Don't go walking on the beatch near post 23.4, between 16:40 and 16:42."

Who are the victims in x00 years gonna sue? (2, Funny)

Travoltus (110240) | about 10 years ago | (#8711768)

If pieces of this stuff lands in my greatx5 grand daughter's yard and it gives my greatx6 grandkid leukemia, who are they gonna sue? The Soviet Union's been Chapter 11 liquidated for over a decade by now.

Re:Who are the victims in x00 years gonna sue? (1)

lxt (724570) | about 10 years ago | (#8711883)

You're assuming, of course, that they're going to want to sue, and that the culture of "sue everyone" continues...

Re:Who are the victims in x00 years gonna sue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711914)

If nuclear radiation-poisoned space junk lands in your yard and causes your family medical problems and you're stuck with thousands of dollars of cleanup and/or medical bills, only a total fool would not sue for reimbursement when everyone knows that space junk was human made.

What you've said is as logical as saying "I won't sue you if you're drunk and you run a red light in your SUV and run over my schoolchild walking in a crosswalk on a green light."

I blame Microsoft (1, Funny)

popo (107611) | about 10 years ago | (#8711773)


I don't know why, or how... but it must be Microsoft's fault.

Re:I blame Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711807)

I don't know why, or how... but it must be Microsoft's fault.

Umm... maybe it's because God's computer runs on Windows?? ;P

And in a few hundred years... (2, Interesting)

ForestGrump (644805) | about 10 years ago | (#8711775)

we would have blown ourselves to bits with our nukes anyway.

So who cares about a nuclear reactor floating out there somewhere in earth orbit?

-Grump

Great Grandkids.... (2, Funny)

deft (253558) | about 10 years ago | (#8711781)

Have you met some grand kids.... they are little bastards. I say let 'em play catch the bright red ball.

Since no one read the damn article... (4, Informative)

DAldredge (2353) | about 10 years ago | (#8711783)

The article isn't worried about the radiation from the drops of coolent, they are worried that, as the collent falls back to earth, it could impact other sats causing a cascade that would destroy a large chunk of the sats currently around earth. And in the process render space a much more dangerous place due to the extra space junk that would be released.

Re:Since no one read the damn article... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711889)

Putting the article in Visa terms so that slashdotters understand it:

Satelite development: $6,000,000

Satelite construction: $1,300,000

Satelite launch: $500,000

Watching satelites get smashed into orbital junk by a droplet of going a gajillion miles per hour: complementery.

Listening to a bunch of morons complain about their grandchildren getting skin cancer because the droplet was radioactive: priceless.


And no, I didn't log in, or read the article; this is Slashdot. :)

A good example against nuclear powered * (-1, Troll)

zapp (201236) | about 10 years ago | (#8711799)

I used to be neutral or pro nuclear powered stuff, especially space fairing vehicles... but now I see this as a very good point against it.

1 thing, I think we can probably fix when the time comes by altering its orbit or destroying it; but if everything put into space had a nuclear core, i think we'd all be screwed eventually.

It also does make current space travel more dangerous, having other stuff up there like that.

Re:A good example against nuclear powered * (5, Insightful)

DAldredge (2353) | about 10 years ago | (#8711831)

Yea, because the only thing that comes out of the current Solid Rockets we use is rainbows and perfume...

Re:A good example against nuclear powered * (1)

JVert (578547) | about 10 years ago | (#8711860)

I agree, I'm normally a technology first environment later but lets clean up chernobyl. Then we can consider if we are responsible enough to dick around with radiation in space. Frankly so far, i'm not impressed.

Re:A good example against nuclear powered * (4, Funny)

Kohath (38547) | about 10 years ago | (#8711916)

It also does make current space travel more dangerous, having other stuff up there like that.

"We just collided with a satelite. We're venting oxygen. We have 2 minutes of air left."

"Oh no, it was a nuclear satelite! What about the radiation? Now we have 1 minute, 55 seconds of air left. I knew nuclear power was a bad idea."

Ah yes... (2, Funny)

mdvolm (68424) | about 10 years ago | (#8711805)

This class of satellite -- no longer launched -- carried a nuclear reactor to power a large radar dish that enabled day/night snooping of Earth's oceans.

Yes, I'm sure that the Soviets were using this for day/night observation of Earth's oceans. Or possibly day/night observation of the missile silos in the US. But it's a tough call.

Re:Ah yes... (3, Interesting)

onnel (518399) | about 10 years ago | (#8711891)

You're right, they were looking for U.S. missle silos...strangely portable ones called submarines. there's a very good reason they were/are snooping the oceans!

Onnel

Re:Ah yes... (1)

jdunn14 (455930) | about 10 years ago | (#8711900)

Day night snooping of earth's oceans is completely believable. After all, be nice to spot those subs wouldn't it.

Space Spam (3, Informative)

amigoro (761348) | about 10 years ago | (#8711806)

If you see that spam is taking over cyberspace too quickly, you should look again, and look up. The immediate 'space' around earth is full of little bits and pieces of objects we have sent up there. There are more than 2,000 decommissioned satellites.

And just as junk emails cause a threat to network connectivity, space junk can potentially damage future space missions. NASA constantly keeps its eye on the movements of these bits of space trash.

space.com [space.com] has a comprehensive list of space junk items, and who put them there.

Moderate this comment
Negative: Offtopic [mithuro.com] Flamebait [mithuro.com] Troll [mithuro.com] Redundant [mithuro.com]
Positive: Insightful [mithuro.com] Interesting [mithuro.com] Informative [mithuro.com] Funny [mithuro.com]

Procrastination is key (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711811)

said Chicken Little. Were it not for your
twentieth century garbage-making skills, we'd all be
buried under twentieth century garbage.

ouch. (-1, Flamebait)

the gnat (153162) | about 10 years ago | (#8711814)

Way to go, Soviet Union! Another triumph for communism! Long after their last sub crewman has died of lymphoma, we'll continue to reap the rewards of their technological prowess. As if spreading Cs137 all over the Ukraine wasn't enough. . .

A Bigger Problem: Critical Density. (3, Interesting)

core plexus (599119) | about 10 years ago | (#8711824)

In my thinking, this statement from the article suggests a very serious problem: ""We are on the threshold, if we have not already exceeded it, of reaching a 'critical density' of objects in low Earth orbit, where collisional fragmentation will cause the debris environment to slowly grow even if all other sources are eliminated.""

All our plans for regular space travel, not to mention all kinds of other space uses, will be in jeopardy. Paint chips, bolts, pieces of wire, etc. We need some really smart people thinking about a solution to this.

Alaska Village invited to test cheap, clean nuclear power [alaska-freegold.com]

Re:A Bigger Problem: Critical Density. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711920)

A really big vaccuum cleaner! Can I have my nobel prize now?

What a surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711829)

"The concentration was so high that, whatever the source, it represented the most significant impact hazard for spacecraft operating at those altitudes... and still does today," Kessler said.
So man kind is once again it's own worst enemy?? Wow the chances of that are like the chances of Infinium losing there SCO(was going to put PieceOfShit, but in my vernacular SCO means the same thing now) of a lawsuit.

My bithrday? (1, Funny)

Temporal (96070) | about 10 years ago | (#8711832)

from the happy-birthday-to-you-happy-birthday-to-you dept.

I'm not sure what to think of this. The article has nothing to do with birthdays. However, it is, in fact, my birthday today (March 30th). As I see no other reason why timothy might have chosen that department, I can only assume that he's celebrating my birthday. I don't know whether to be flattered or disturbed by this.

not to worry... (1)

alchemistkevin (763955) | about 10 years ago | (#8711835)

by the time its anywhere near to earth, we're going to have so much debris up there that this will probably hit the stuff and cancel itself out.

Two conclusions: (4, Interesting)

gad_zuki! (70830) | about 10 years ago | (#8711840)

Our grandchildren will be living in a new stone age after WWIII and this won't really matter or they will have the tech to take care of this long before it becomes a threat.

The above blatantly stolen from Einstein
"I don't know how the third world war will be fought," Albert Einstein once remarked, "but I do know that the fourth one will be fought with sticks and stones."

Re:Two conclusions: (1)

Mulletproof (513805) | about 10 years ago | (#8711893)

While I tend not to argue with Einstein, especially a very dead Einstein, I submit for your approval that any war being fought with sticks and stones won't be a world one. Yeah, I'm just being anal. I'm sure he meant "bronze age" or something :p

More Asteroid Hemorrhoids (4, Insightful)

Mulletproof (513805) | about 10 years ago | (#8711844)

"Once at that altitude the power supply unit would take several hundred years before it reentered the Earth's atmosphere.' Wow. So ... our great-grandchildren can expect a lovely day, partly cloudy with the occasional nuclear reactor plummeting down from outer space.

Well here's a clue for the terminally short-sighted: Do you think maybe- just maybe -we'll have a better way to deal with it in several hundred years??? I mean for cryin' out loud, the damn things safe in parking orbit. It's not going anywhere for the next few centuries! Could the submitter be anymore of an alarmist if he tried? Heads up, Chicken Little, the sky is falling!

Sigh.

We don't inherit the earth - we borrow it.. (4, Funny)

Channard (693317) | about 10 years ago | (#8711849)

.. from our children, and their children, and their children's children.. And this little legacy is just to teach them not to put their parents in crappy nursing homes in future.

Time heals all (1)

Soft (266615) | about 10 years ago | (#8711851)

Isn't it the point of this design, that the radionucleides will have decayed by that time, so their burning up in the atmosphere will be harmless? Not all radioactive materials have millions of years of half-life (and radioactivity from those would be less intense, I'd guess...)

Not the first time is it? (1)

MrIrwin (761231) | about 10 years ago | (#8711856)

Didn't skylab have some radioactive material in it when it came crashing down to earth?

The radioation given off by this thing is probably peanuts compared to the radiation the earth has had from nuclear tests, leaks etc, not to mention natrual radiation.

I think it is more prudent to ask what steps and controls have/are being taken to ensure that this problem gets eliminated rather than escalates.

Maybe not that much of a problem.... (4, Insightful)

imsabbel (611519) | about 10 years ago | (#8711879)

I dont know that exact satelite, but most of those "reactors" are in fact thermoelectic, powered by decay death.
Those things use isotopes with a half life in a low 2 digit year range, because they NEED a HIGH decay rate to create heat. So in a few hundered years there wont be too much left to make our great - great children 3 eyed...

Plan Ents!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711881)

From the post....

"leaving little droplets of it in orbit around our planent."

Is a planent something from LOTR ? :P

where to? (1)

dresseduptoday (621090) | about 10 years ago | (#8711915)

Hmmm. If you have something in space that feels nasty to keep around there, has an engine with limited spare energy, and is controllable, why not send it towards the great bright waste disposal unit in the centre of our system? _ /Bjorn.

HA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711930)

I'll be 6 ft under when that day comes, why do I care??
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