Space... the final junkyard

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by Maphusio, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. Maphusio

    Maphusio Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Sep 25, 2004
    Well, its been getting more and more press as of late... We humans have littered Earth's gravitational well with so much garbage that we now have a dedicated international department that tracks every piece of debris down to the size of 20 centimeters.

    There is so much garbage, the International Space station and other artificial satellites are increasingly at risk.

    Today the International Space station was evaced due to a piece of debris that was dangerously close to the station.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/13/science/space/13evacuate.html?ref=us

    What should we do about this giant mess? Target practice has not proven effective. Should we just blame Russia for driving us down this path? Or Howard Hughes for exploiting it for commercial use? All joking asides, what are your theories for cleaning up our space trash?

    Edit: Or should NASA name some debris after Stephen Cobert to satiate his need for goofy recognition?
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,508998,00.html
     
  2. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    cleaning up the mess? I mean if there is enough junk around will it not protect one from the particles of the sun? could use the junk to fill the hole in the ozon layer.

    Well to be more serious, I guess best thing to do first is to not throw any more junk in the space around. I think that would be for now the easiest thing trying to reduce that. And after this achieved one could think about solutions to remove the already existing junk.
     
  3. Roflcore

    Roflcore Mildly Dipped

    579
    Nov 2, 2008
    Whats the problem in "catching" it with some sort of device? slowly clearing it up and also gaining resources? I mean if they gather it in a tight space they could reuse it later
     
  4. I love how trash and shit are left where ever the human virus spreads.
     
  5. SimpleMinded

    SimpleMinded Vault Fossil

    Jun 17, 2003
    Roflcore, how easy is it to catch the garbage though? It's in a massive space. The likelihood of placing something somewhere where it would be able to gather up the material is unlikely.

    We should build a space ship that zaps it all!
     
  6. Chancellor Kremlin

    Chancellor Kremlin Mildly Dipped

    527
    Nov 17, 2008
    We should stop sending shit up which we know we can never bring down.
     
  7. iridium_ionizer

    iridium_ionizer Mildly Dipped

    558
    Jul 24, 2007
    Check out the Wikipedia article on Space Debris to see some of the proposals. Laser brooms spacecraft to push debris down into decaying orbits or massive aerogel blobs.

    Well most of it that is the size of a golf ball is trackable, but your right that if we just put something up there in a static orbit it would gather up much of it. However, if we had something up there with a continuous means of propulsion it would be able to gather up most of the junk within a given altitude range with small course corrections if given enough time. But yeah the space is big even low earth orbit (LEO), and that's precisely the reason that we haven't done anything about it yet. There is so much space that collisions are extremely rare (though devastating sometimes at those speeds).

    I wouldn't suggest a moratorium on all satellite launches, but I do agree with your basic sentiment that prevention is easier than the cure. One of the proposals involves having all new satellite have a terminator tether which at the end of its life cycle hangs down and increases the drag and decreases the altitude and eventually making the satellite enter the atmosphere much sooner than it would have otherwise. Of course you would hope that at the end of its life the controls/mechanism for releasing the tether still work. Also there are simple things like making sure upper stages find their way to a decaying orbit and not destroying satellites in an uncontrolled manner.
     
  8. DarkCorp

    DarkCorp So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Oct 27, 2003
    I telll ya that lots of garbagein space idea isn't gonna be good. I don't want to evacuate the earth because garbage rains down and impacts the planet like in that cowboy bebop episode.
     
  9. The Vault Dweller

    The Vault Dweller always looking for water.

    Aug 24, 2004
    Guys what are you talking about? Don't you realize space junk is our first and best line of defense against alien invasion?

    Think about it. Any faction wanting to invade us would certainly consider our new forays into space as the beginnings of an attempt at empire building and thus would try to stop us at the very start. Since they'll obviously be much-farther technologically advanced compared to use they would be way above polluting space with junk on their worlds so when they try to invade ours they'll never be prepared when empty bags of doritos, plastic bottles, and old newspapers clog their sophisticated engine intakes and cause them to come crashing through the atmosphere uncontrolled.

    Sincerely,
    The Vault Dweller
     
  10. Maphusio

    Maphusio Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Sep 25, 2004

    bahahah, I was waiting for someone to suggest this. You sir have a special place in my book of teh awesome.

    Boy, wouldn't it be neat if they needed assistance getting those plastic six pack rings off their necks?
     
  11. generalissimofurioso

    generalissimofurioso The Hole Time Orderite

    Jun 17, 2007
    What if we just built a giant magnetic ball, pushed it around up there to pick up all the junk and then fired it off into some random direction?

    The King of All Cosmos would be sure to appreciate that.
     
  12. DarkCorp

    DarkCorp So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Oct 27, 2003
    I can see it now. A giant magnetic mop we can whack some alien in the face with while its nice and dirty.
     
  13. Dirk Magirk

    Dirk Magirk Semi-Present Presence oTO Orderite

    Oct 30, 2008
    We need to research some orbital shields in a hurry. It'll help with the space trash and the U r-Quan.
     
  14. Public

    Public Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    May 18, 2006
    IMO

    Find a way to reduce the amount of garbage here on Earth, not causing any more damage to the enviroment and then worry about the space.
     
  15. SuAside

    SuAside Testament to the ghoul lifespan
    Admin

    May 27, 2004
    nearly none of the materials used in space flight have magnetic properties.

    so no. magnets are useless.
     
  16. Patton89

    Patton89 Vault Dweller

    727
    Nov 21, 2008
    Screw careful plans.
    Lets just nuke the entire space surrounding earth.
    Sure, we will lose satellites and telescopes but atleast MTV will stop broadcasting and we wont have to worry about space garbage anymore.

    Okay, jokes aside, cant you just create special designed bombs that would "push" the garbage to atmosphere ?
    Might work. And would be more realistic then any ultra-high-tech
    solutions.

    Still joking.
    The bombs could :
    1:might not work well.
    2:make the debris fly to some satellites and towards ISS.
     
  17. SuAside

    SuAside Testament to the ghoul lifespan
    Admin

    May 27, 2004
    smaller debris is more dangerous because it's harder to track.

    nukes (or large bombs) indeed do not desintegrate stuff, they pulverize leaving smaller debris.

    best stuff i've heard til now is actually the laser solution. but that would take forever.
     
  18. Blakut

    Blakut Vault Senior Citizen

    Jan 9, 2008
    The best solution would be to construct a great sphere made of some kind of foam (aerogel) or something similar, so when it is impacted by a piece of debris, it gradually stops it inside. They could send it to different orbits, cause debris don't float around at random, they tend to follow the orbits of the objects they came from.

    After the sphere gets full of holes and debris, they can crash it into the atmosphere, burning everything in it.
     
  19. SuAside

    SuAside Testament to the ghoul lifespan
    Admin

    May 27, 2004
    as published before, such a solution would require such a big sphere that it becomes a threat to still functioning sats.

    that, or you'd take several millenia to see any effect. :)
     
  20. Makenshi

    Makenshi Ahoy, ye salty dogs!

    Jul 28, 2006
    You just destroyed my childhood ¬¬