Watchful eyes, thoughtful mind

Earth and us ….. past, present and future ….. connected?

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s SPACE-JUNK! February 14, 2009

Filed under: animation,human interference,space research — Radiance @ 10:14 AM
[Source: National Geographic website, artist’s conception of space-junk floating around Earth.]
A privately owned U.S. Iridium satellite collided with the Russian military’s defunct Cosmos 2251 satellite over northern Siberia on Tuesday just before noon, US Eastern Time. The two satellites were travelling at about six miles (ten kilometres) a second when they collided. This collision added more than 500 bits of debris to the roughly 18,000 pieces of known space junk orbiting Earth already. A video on New Scientist’s YT channel shares a simulation made by Analytical Graphics that shows the possible path of the new debris around Earth amongst the existing ones.

According to the article on National Geographic’s (NatGeo) website, most of the larger debris is kept track of by various space agencies but some smaller ones that are not tracked can be equally threatening doe to their high velocity. The write up on the New Scientist website concerns the possibility of predicting such collisions and, therefore, avoiding them. On a lighter note, Wired Science shares a list of some weird space-junk items left behind. Although the danger to the International Space Station caused by floating debris of the latest collision is minimal, it has sparked a discussion and review of whether we are overcrowding the space around our planet.

I, therefore, thought of sharing another article on NatGeo’s website that gives a nice overview of the space-race that the mankind is engaged in. This overview tells us that, “There are 8000 artificial objects orbiting Earth. More than 2,500 of these are satellites, working and dead. The remaining objects are space-junk (technically known as orbital debris).” This page also has an interactive feature that gives information about the types of satellites and details of some notable satellites such as Hubble telescope, Voyager space probes etc.


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