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Space Debris Narrowly Misses Airliner

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the thats-why-i-wear-a-hat dept.

Space 297

An anonymous reader writes "An airliner jet traveling from Chile to New Zealand early today was in for an interesting ride. Flaming space debris — the remains of a Russian satellite — came hurtling back to Earth not far from a commercial jet on its way to Auckland, New Zealand. Here's further justification for the growing concern of the increasing amounts of space garbage orbiting our planet. From the article: 'The pilot of a Lan Chile Airbus A340 ... notified air traffic controllers at Auckland Oceanic Centre after seeing flaming space junk hurtling across the sky just five nautical miles in front of and behind his plane...'"

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It figures... (0, Troll)

Volatile_Memory (140227) | more than 7 years ago | (#18513793)

Bloody Russions!

Re:It figures... (0, Offtopic)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 7 years ago | (#18513833)

Sounds like the country of "What" as described by S. Jackson in Pulp Fiction.

Russion ain't no country I ever heard of - THEY speak ENGLISH in Russion?
ENLGISH MOTHERFUCKER DO YOU SPEAK IT - Then you KNOW what I'm SAYING
DESCRIBE WHAT MARSELLUS WALLACE LOOKS LIKE!

Definitely, we need a Vacuum Cleaner (2, Funny)

VernonNemitz (581327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514089)

Here's one proposal. :) [halfbakery.com]

OK, I'm confused (2, Insightful)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514205)

Can someone please explain how a 340 pilot can see 5nm *behind* the aircraft? They don't exactly have rear-view mirrors, ya know...

Re:OK, I'm confused (4, Informative)

mikael (484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514629)

But they do have CCTV surveillance systems [aerialviewsystems.com] fitted on the undercarriage and in the tail. The first is for intruder detection on the aircraft and for tourist entertainment, while the second is to detect engine fires.

Re:OK, I'm confused (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514725)

Can someone please explain how a 340 pilot can see 5nm *behind* the aircraft? They don't exactly have rear-view mirrors, ya know...

Maybe he flew under it.

"Russion" satellite (1)

edittard (805475) | more than 7 years ago | (#18513795)

In Soviet Russio, stupid typo makes you!

IN SOVIET RUSSIA (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18513807)

YOU hit spacejunk!

Re:IN SOVIET RUSSIA (0, Redundant)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514729)

Only if you're in Soviet airspace. Go high enough, and you'll no longer be "in Soviet Russia". (Or any Russia, for that matter.)

(Yeah, yeah, "*whoosh*".)

Chili? Russion? (5, Funny)

SouperMike (199023) | more than 7 years ago | (#18513817)

An airliner jet traveling from Chili to New Zealand early today were in for an interesting ride. Flaming space debris -- the remains of a Russion satellite -- came hurtling back to Earth not far from commercial jet on their way to Auckland, New Zealand.

Chili?

Russion?



I hate it when my spicy peppers serve as runways.... editors, come on. Are you kidding me?

Re:Chili? Russion? (1, Funny)

iiii (541004) | more than 7 years ago | (#18513901)

But was it spicy vegetarian chili, in a commemorative tote bag? Green chili? That gross "wallowing in its own fat" chili they have at Hard Times? I have seen chili fly, usually after it was accompanied by a little too much booze, but I haven't seen airliners spontaneously burst forth from the flying chili. Would be cool tho.

Re:Chili? Russion? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18513977)

Editors? At slashdot? Come on. Are you kidding me?

Re:Chili? Russion? (2, Funny)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514015)

It's more likely than you think.

Re:Chili? Russion? (0, Offtopic)

bad_fx (493443) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514061)

Yeah, someone's got to select the articles to maximise bad spelling and grammar. It won't happen by itself you know!

Re:Chili? Russion? (2, Informative)

Goaway (82658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514151)

Slashdot "editors" do not "edit" submissions. This makes Slashdot "more real", according to CmdrTaco.

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=174297&thresho ld=0&commentsort=0&mode=thread&pid=14502339#145024 [slashdot.org] 84

Re:Chili? Russion? (0, Offtopic)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514369)

Well, if by "real" he intends to point out just how horribly uneducated the average person is (himself included), then he's got a point...

Re:Chili? Russion? (0, Offtopic)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514377)

What's hilarious is that "Russian" has been corrected while "Chili" remains.

Hey guys... just cut back on the beans next time, all right? The smell's making me queasy.

Re:Chili? Russion? (0, Offtopic)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514387)

At least it wasn't in l33t speak.

Re:Chili? Russion? (1, Offtopic)

desertfool (21262) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514399)

Chili? The small town outside of Rochester, New York? I didn't even know they had a airport. Things have changed since I left.

Re:Chili? Russion? (-1, Troll)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514553)

You may have been out, buying cheesburgers or lard or something I expect, but I believe the announcement was made on the News recently that land has been discovered outside of US borders. The broadcast revealed there was a whole world out there.

So, now you know I guess you'll be breaking out the Canadian flag, buying some expensive and ostentatious camera gear which you don't know how to use and finishing off your voice coaching now that you have acheived the loud, grating braying noises you will be making as you explore.

I realise I may be falling for stereotypes and I am sure there dozens of exceptions to the picture I am so cruelly portraying. So, apologies to you.

Re:Chili? Russion? (1, Offtopic)

desertfool (21262) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514697)

Ah yes, the slashdot knee-jerk reaction. I was commenting on the flight from CHILE, but written CHILI and made a joke. Thank you for the lesson that there is a big world out there.

The joys of posting!

Re:Chili? Russion? (0, Offtopic)

Zwaxy (447665) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514459)

An airliner jet [...] were in for an interesting ride?

This are bad grammars.

Damne them! (1, Funny)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#18513819)

the remains of a Russion satellite --

Damne those Russions!!!

Sorry... couldn't help myself...

Re:Damne them! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18513829)

Hit them with Chilis!

Re:Damne them! (0, Offtopic)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514121)

At least they didn't hit Kenny this time.

Interesting (1)

Petra_von_Kant (825352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18513835)

Interesting article (Russian, hopefully, is the correct spelling), and one that should concern us all with the ever increasing load of space junk up there. Who needs terrorists when there are many nations with junk falling out of the sky at us?



"You've got a chart filling a whole wall with interlocking pathways
and reactions to shock and the researcher says "If I can just control
this one molecule/enzyme/compound I'll stop the whole negative
physiologic cascade of post haemorrhagic shock." Yeah, right."

Re:Interesting (5, Interesting)

Holmwood (899130) | more than 7 years ago | (#18513919)

Actually most of the junk falling out of the sky is the 'good' news, notwithstanding how disturbed the flight crew must have been. (inasmuch as there is good news at all). Most of it is relatively small; that which isn't is usually tracked more precisely. The article notes that they got the timing wrong for the terminal de-orbit of that satellite (and hence the position as well).

The really bad news is the junk that isn't de-orbiting, but staying up there. As the second article notes, even if we stopped all launches today, collisions and resulting fragmentations (creating even more space junk objects) would only be balanced by de-orbiting space junk up until 2055, after which time the number of objects would increase for circa 200 years.

While a $100m satellite being destroyed may just be bad news for taxpayers, or shareholders (and hence pension funds) or TV viewers, or GPS users, it might also be very bad news for people in remote communities who rely on telemedicine. There are a lot of increasingly critical applications that depend on satellites.

-Holmwood

Re:Interesting (5, Informative)

Phisbut (761268) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514515)

The really bad news is the junk that isn't de-orbiting, but staying up there.

The solution is quite simple actually. Since all that junk is orbiting Earth, the position of any one piece of junk at any time is function of the Earth's gravity (and the piece's velocity), that's how orbits work. Since we can't change the junk's velocity (it doesn't have an engine, or we lost contact with it), all we need to do is increase the Earth's gravity for a couple of days and all the junk will de-orbit by itself. How to increase the Earth's gravity is left as an exercise to the reader.

The unfortunate side effect of that solution though is we're in for quite a shock (and one hell of a high tide) in a couple of years time when the moon comes crashing on Mount Fiji...

Re:Interesting (1)

LoofWaffle (976969) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514631)

The really bad news is the junk that isn't de-orbiting, but staying up there.

The solution is quite simple actually. Since all that junk is orbiting Earth, the position of any one piece of junk at any time is function of the Earth's gravity (and the piece's velocity), that's how orbits work. Since we can't change the junk's velocity (it doesn't have an engine, or we lost contact with it), all we need to do is increase the Earth's gravity for a couple of days and all the junk will de-orbit by itself. How to increase the Earth's gravity is left as an exercise to the reader.

The unfortunate side effect of that solution though is we're in for quite a shock (and one hell of a high tide) in a couple of years time when the moon comes crashing on Mount Fiji...

Phisbut, if I could I would mod this as "Effing Brilliant". Thanks for the laugh.

[OT] Re:Interesting (-1, Offtopic)

GuyWithLag (621929) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514207)

Off-topic, but I was wondering about the source of your signature, I can't seem to find anything searching for it...

Re:[OT] Re:Interesting (1)

Petra_von_Kant (825352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514349)

Well, that's pretty much 'cause it's mine, and relates to pretty much how I feel when a patient is/has bleeding/bled to death in front of me and some pointy head is pissing on about their favourite molecule/protein that they've been jerking off over this last fifty years and how everything would be all right if we just used that.


"You've got a chart filling a whole wall with interlocking pathways
and reactions to shock and the researcher says "If I can just control
this one molecule/enzyme/compound I'll stop the whole negative
physiologic cascade of post haemorrhagic shock." Yeah, right."

define "narrowly" (1)

radarsat1 (786772) | more than 7 years ago | (#18513839)

so it missed him by FIVE MILES? ;-)

(I kid, I kid.. that is a little too close.)

Re:define "narrowly" (1, Interesting)

bhima (46039) | more than 7 years ago | (#18513881)

5 miles a way and they could *still* hear it. Wow.

Re:define "narrowly" (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18513991)

When a plane can cruise at over 500 miles per hour, thats over 8 miles a minute (a jumbo jet can probably approach 10miles/minute). We're talking about a window of less than a minutes (closer to 30 seconds) difference between a safe flight and a quick, firey landing. So yes, five miles is significant.

Re:define "narrowly" (5, Interesting)

Elad Alon (835764) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514375)

You're forgetting that the space junk is travelling at similar speeds, not hanging there in the same altitude as the plane in waiting. The window is a split second when the two can actually collide. The biggest actual hazard is probably caused by the turbulences created by that falling junk.

Re:define "narrowly" (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514029)

About 5 years ago, my father saw a plane toilet flush (about 1kg of ice with organic wastes) hit the ground in the center of a small city. No one was hurt that time, but that's still dangerous, and given the number of planes above hour heads, quite common.

Re:define "narrowly" (1, Offtopic)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514755)

Planes do not jettison their toilet waste in flight except in life endangering situations.

Re:define "narrowly" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18514033)

About 5.75 miles actually. Convert those nautical miles to real miles.

OK then, how about this? (5, Funny)

Ericular (876826) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514079)

The debris came within .0000000538 AU of the aircraft.

nautical miles, not miles. (1)

nedwidek (98930) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514183)

1 nautical mile == 1.2 standard miles.

So it missed him by 6 miles. Seriously, doesn't anybody around here own a real boat?

Re:nautical miles, not miles. (1)

Grimmreaper74 (1014291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514495)

Actually a (Knot) Nautical Mile is 1.3 Miles.

Re:nautical miles, not miles. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18514685)

Actually, a knot is a unit of speed, moron.

Re:define "narrowly" (1)

rcg40 (832633) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514477)

540 miles per hour = 9 miles per minute = 4.5 miles per 30 seconds The "30 second cone of 540 mph" is almost 5 miles. The trash missed the cone by 5 seconds. Whatever sells papers....

russia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18513841)

how do you know it came from rusia?

Re:russia? (1)

dswartz (749795) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514093)

I read the article. Kudos on using both the Spanish and English spelling of Russia in one post.

Behind? (5, Interesting)

drachenfyre (550754) | more than 7 years ago | (#18513847)

I'm curious, when did Airbus start putting rear view mirrors in their planes? I have never known it possible in any recent commercial airliner for the pilots to see back behind them.

Re:Behind? (1, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18513877)

Dude, just stick your head out and look! It's not that hard.

Re:Behind? (5, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18513909)

It's harder when you have to roll down the window with that little crank.

Re:Behind? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18513941)

But that would be too dangerous!, you need to keep your eyes on the air in front of you in order to maintain safe distance from the space junk in front!

Re:Behind? (3, Informative)

cabinetsoft (923481) | more than 7 years ago | (#18513887)

I'm curious, when did Airbus start putting rear view mirrors in their planes? I have never known it possible in any recent commercial airliner for the pilots to see back behind them
Video camera?

Re:Behind? (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18513935)

Radar too...

I once had a layover in Chili (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18513853)

airliner jet traveling from Chili to New Zealand

I was once nearly hit by satellite debris on a flight from TGI Friday's to Djibouti. Happens all the time.

llol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18513857)

im in ur football team russion ur offense!

I'll get right on it! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18513871)

I work at a major supplier for onboard electronic systems for airliners. I'll remind my boss at the next meeting to bump up the priority on the space junk laser defense system.

Re:I'll get right on it! (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514213)

If space junk doesn't get his attention, tell him the sky is falling!

Behind the plane? (3, Insightful)

hlh_nospam (178327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18513873)

Looks like this article needs some proofreading (Russion?), in addition to a reasonableness check. I have never piloted an aircraft in which you could see to the rear. The only aircraft that I know of in which you can see to the rear are military fighters, and even then, the view is limited, and the pilot has rare occasion to look back. Well, actually, I take that back -- I've seen pictures of general aviation aircraft with 'bubble' canopies, but I've never actually seen one in person.

Re:Behind the plane? (1)

radish (98371) | more than 7 years ago | (#18513949)

Could it be that he "saw" it on radar? I don't know...just thinking that determining something is 5 miles away with the naked eye is also pretty tough.

Re:Behind the plane? (1)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514579)

Visibility is really increased when it's in the sky and on fire. Weather radar doesn't pick up objects like a military radar does, it's at a frequency that is suited to "seeing" water vapor.

Re:Behind the plane? (5, Interesting)

gunny01 (1022579) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514187)

Most Airbus planes have reversing cams, that let you see out the back of the plane from your seat.

That said, the pilot couldn't have seen it from 5 nm (9.26km, for the non-plane nut /.ers), and to my knowledge, commercial airliners don't carry radar to pick up that sort of stuff. They carry weather and transponder radar, not the fancy military radar you'd need to detect flying pieces of metal in the sky.

This story smell like something the fools at airliners.net would drag up. Chili? Russion! Seriously, slashdot is really going downhill recently...

Re:Behind the plane? (3, Informative)

jsight (8987) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514785)

I have never piloted an aircraft in which you could see to the rear. The only aircraft that I know of in which you can see to the rear are military fighters, and even then, the view is limited, and the pilot has rare occasion to look back.


Then you haven't flown many aircraft. The Cessna 172 would be one example (ok, the really early ones didn't have rear windows, but most do). :)

Looking back in flight even then would be relatively unusual, but then so is seeing flaming debris flying by.

Slashdot: news for chileans. (4, Interesting)

mfarah (231411) | more than 7 years ago | (#18513889)

This isn't the first time I read some news involving Chile here on slashdot before there's any local news coverage, if at all (two previous ones were the one about the mapuches complaining about a Mapudungun version of Windows [slashdot.org] and the one about the mistery corpse beached in the southern region [slashdot.org] ).

It's sad that our journalism sucks so much.

Re:Slashdot: news for chileans. (0, Offtopic)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514045)

It's sad that our journalism sucks so much.

Yeah but at least you probably have something resembling news. Here in the states news actually died a long time ago. Now it's more of finding an outlet that validates one's belief system.

Edward R Murrow is NOT rolling in his grave.
He was cremated.

Re:Slashdot: news for chileans. (1)

locoluis (69948) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514395)

Depends on who you read.

I think I saw both articles on Chilean blogs and internet sources before seeing it on Slashdot.

Of course, you probably mean mainstream media. They're just now reporting our victory at the 2007 Suwon Cup.

Space debris eh? (5, Interesting)

Kandenshi (832555) | more than 7 years ago | (#18513911)

So, how long before Planetes becomes a reality?

wikipedia's page [wikipedia.org]
Animenfo's link [animenfo.com]

Using the Kessler syndrome [wikipedia.org] seems to be a popular enough thing in fiction, I wonder if it'll ever get to be a problem in reality.

Re:Space debris eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18514113)

That was the same thing I was thinking about

Re:Space debris eh? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18514733)

Mod this post up +1 Thinks Inside the Box

Phew. That was close (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18513923)

5 nautical miles away. A short drive, and it would have hit.

Re:Phew. That was close (4, Informative)

z0idberg (888892) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514751)

5 nautical miles is approx 5.75 miles.

A340 typical cruising speed = 544 mph.

So covers 5 nautical miles in about 38 seconds.
Pretty close if you ask me.

the solution to global warming!! (1)

N3wsByt3 (758224) | more than 7 years ago | (#18513931)

A manner in which to combat global warming is to reduce the amount of sunlight reaching earth! Now, instead of the ridulous expensive and unfeasable giant space-reflectors, thanks to human waste management (well, rather the lack of it) we have a viable means to do so!

Without knowing it, we are already heading in the good direction; we only need a concerted effort to further improve upon. If we can muster enough fine particles and bring a dustcloud of debris around our planet in low orbit, thick enough to temper the suns rays, we're compensating for our pollution here down on earth!

Pollution is the problem, but also the solution!!

Hurray!

Wormhole Technology! (4, Funny)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#18513939)

after seeing flaming space junk hurtling across the sky just five nautical miles in front of and behind his plane...

Apparently the Russions developed wormhole technology! An object can be both in front of and behind a jet at the same time! I hope they don't share this technology with the Chili-ans!

Apparently, the Chili-ans have already developed the highly vaunted A-340 rear-view mirror technology. (Seriously, how do you see something 5 miles BEHIND a A-340 from the pilot seat?)

Or maybe this is just the worst summary ever. Although I'm a fan of anybody who can completely offend 160 million people in a single paragraph by misspelling the name of their nations.

Re:Wormhole Technology! (0, Offtopic)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514337)

Although I'm a fan of anybody who can completely offend 160 million people in a single paragraph by misspelling the name of their nations. - pffft. 160 million people. (Russia alone is 170 million.)

How about Cshaina, EEndeea, Gapania, Jermania and Greit Britonia?

Even better, how about planet Erslinia?

Re:Wormhole Technology! (0, Offtopic)

saforrest (184929) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514551)

How about Cshaina, EEndeea, Gapania, Jermania and Greit Britonia?

For Brits you might try "Great Britian": this has successfully annoyed British friends of mine in the past.

Very small chance (1, Insightful)

FredDC (1048502) | more than 7 years ago | (#18513953)

I think there is a very small chance of space debris reentering the atmosphere, hitting an airplane. It is possible ofcourse, but I think you've got a better chance of winning the lottery...
 
Most of the debris coming down is burned up before it even reaches commercial airplane altittudes. And it's not as if the sky is full of airplanes, the amount of sky taken up by airplanes is extremely small.
 
So I don't think this is an actual problem, it could happen but most likely it won't!

Re:Very small chance (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514513)

I think there is a very small chance of space debris reentering the atmosphere, hitting an airplane. It is possible ofcourse, but I think you've got a better chance of winning the lottery...


Hmmm...so should I buy a lottery ticket, or an airline ticket?

not space junk - the solution to space junk (4, Informative)

iiii (541004) | more than 7 years ago | (#18513967)

Here's further justification for the growing concern of the increasing amounts of space garbage orbiting our planet

Absolutely false. That was not space junk. It was atmospheric junk, which is not a problem because it falls, burns, and rapidly becomes either vaporized or on the ground. The problem with space junk is that it just sits there in orbit and never goes away. And the orbit that it is in could cross your orbit with an extremely high closing velocity.

If we could get all of our space junk to become atmospheric junk, the problem would be solved.

Re:not space junk - the solution to space junk (1)

BlueTrin (683373) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514189)

Then we would just need to call the cleaners to remove the A340-ic junk/waste on the ground ...

Re:not space junk - the solution to space junk (2, Informative)

LoofWaffle (976969) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514583)

Absolutely false. That was not space junk. It was atmospheric junk, which is not a problem because it falls, burns, and rapidly becomes either vaporized or on the ground. The problem with space junk is that it just sits there in orbit and never goes away. And the orbit that it is in could cross your orbit with an extremely high closing velocity. If we could get all of our space junk to become atmospheric junk, the problem would be solved.
Just a couple of technical issues with your justification. First, it was space junk because it didn't start in the atmosphere (unless you count the moment it was launched, in which case I concede). Second, falling debris (whether atmospheric or otherwise)is a problem. Something with sufficient mass that survives the free fall will cause damage. Third, the orbit of space junk is the determining factor as to whether or not it goes away. A piece of debris in a low earth orbit or with a highly eccentric orbit will eventually fall back to earth due to atmospheric drag. It may take thousands of years (or a collision) for the orbit to decay enough for that to happen, but it will happen. On a positive note, you are correct about objects in orbit having a high closing velocity since the minimum velocity to maintain a low earth orbit is about 7700 meters per second.

Weren't they at Woodstock? (4, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#18513993)

"Flaming Space Debris", now that's a great name for a rock band.

Re:Weren't they at Woodstock? (1, Funny)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514127)

They were at Woodstock, but they crashed into Jefferson Airplane and set Jimi Hendrix's guitar on fire... oh wait, they said DON'T take the brown acid! My bad.

Re:Weren't they at Woodstock? (1)

JonathanR (852748) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514129)

Nah. Kuiper Belt is a better name.

Dr. Evil's Giant Magnet (2, Funny)

rodney dill (631059) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514003)

Fortunately work has already been begun on Dr. Evils's Giant Magnet [yahoo.com]

Debris (1)

Ikyaat (764422) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514077)

They should have just got the Chinese to shoot the debris with their superawsomelaser and then no one would complain.

Re:Debris (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18514097)

Then the news item would be Chinese Superawsomelaser hits plane ...

WTF? (1)

dimss (457848) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514115)

1) Why do they think that was russian satellite? If it has deobited 12 hours earlier than expected, why this occured in _correct_ place?
2) (Someone already pointed at this) How could pilot see behind the plane?

Re:WTF? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514497)

2) (Someone already pointed at this) How could pilot see behind the plane?

      Obviously all distance estimates are ESTIMATES. But perhaps the debris was headed FOR him, and some of it passed overhead - which the pilot would see. Therefore he estimated it as 5 nm aft.

Its time for Roger Wilco (2, Funny)

Advocadus Diaboli (323784) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514165)

to clean up the mess in our space. :-)

probabilities (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514175)

5 nautical miles = 9.26 km
A380-800 wing span (maximal dimension)=79.8m.

The probability of debris atcually hitting the plane is (9.26/79.8)^3*10^9 = 1,562,515.33 times smaller than the probability of the event described in the article.

Re:probabilities (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514221)

Even if you take 2D instead of 3D (which might be correct) it is still 13,465 times less chance. Assuming that the amount of debris is relatively unchanged during this year and the fact that this is the first observed case, one should assume that the expectancy of the catastrophic event is in 13000 years (given the same amount of debris, of course).

Attention (1)

nrgy (835451) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514193)

*stewardess over the intercom*

We at Lan Chile airlines would like to thank you for flying with us today and hope you enjoyed your flight. We will shortly be starting are decent to land so if everyone could lock their trays in the upright position and please fasten their seatbelts. Another note for those of you on the starboard side of the aircraft, if you look out your windows you will see a long forgotten Russian space satellite making its reentry back to earth. Thank you and have a nice day.

Re:Attention (0, Offtopic)

thetroll123 (744259) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514305)

Corrects the spelling of Chile and Russian, but gets "our" wrong. Tragic.

The odds?!?! (2, Insightful)

Kong99 (618393) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514215)

Seriously, what are the odds of being in an aircraft and being hit by space debris?!!? 10 Million : 1, 100 Million : 1, 1 Billion : 1. This is NOT a problem. An oddity, curiosity, decent headline... yes. A problem, no.

Relative Risk (3, Insightful)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514273)

Number of people killed per annum by falling space junk hitting aircraft - 0
Number of people killed per annum by motor accidents in the UK - 3221 [bbc.co.uk] (and that was a record low)

I'm not sure this story will keep me awake at night.

Re:Relative Risk (2, Insightful)

steevc (54110) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514615)

Over a million [state.gov] killed worldwide on the roads! I believe it's around 40k/year just in the USA.

How many die in plane crashes each year? I expect it's in the hundreds on average. Similar for trains.

I think the news programmes should announce road death statistics regularly to give people some perspective on which is the most dangerous form of transport. I'm certainly more scared when driving than when flying even though I appreciate that a motoring accident is generally more survivable.

Read some Schneier [schneier.com] for some sanity.

Where did u say the plane was from?? (1)

DarkMan-X (1081071) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514359)

I just hope this kind of incidents doesn't get to happen too frecuently because it certainly WILL have a cost in human lives. Anyway.... i couldn't find anything about it in main papers, such as Emol. btw.... don't get me wrong Cmdrtaco.... but can't you spell my country's name properly? 'Chili'.... what were u thinking? please make us chilean people a big fat favor... spell properly. It is spelled C H I L E.

Re:Where did u say the plane was from?? (3, Informative)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514457)

btw.... don't get me wrong Cmdrtaco.... but can't you spell my country's name properly? 'Chili'.... what were u thinking?

      Don't worry - you should see what the Americans do to MY country - Costa Rica. They confuse us with Puerto Rico! To the extent that I have even had my luggage sent to San Juan (Puerto Rico) instead of San José (Costa Rica). Sigh.

I for one... (-1, Offtopic)

rsmoody (791160) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514365)

Welcome our space debris wielding overlords. Obligatory.

Homer Simpson (1)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514401)

mmmmmmmm chili ahhhhhhhhhh

Increasing Problem (1)

avapex (1003914) | more than 7 years ago | (#18514465)

The space debris problem is a lot like a nuclear reaction - collisions happen and debris is released which causes more collisions and the reaction continues at an exponential rate. It could get to the point where space navigation will no longer be viable.

Interesting fact - a piece of space debris the size of a small marble, traveling at 22,000 miles per hour, has the kinetic energy of a 400 pound safe dropped from about 100 feet. Imagine the damage that would result if a marble-sized object were to collide with a space craft.

It would be great if we found a way to fix the space debris problem.

CmdrTaco (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18514601)

The dumbest, most overrated 'tard this site has ever seen. Learn to spell you nit.
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