Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Space Junk.

Now I don't know about you, but this concerns me, just a little. I'll never forget reading about space junk in the newspaper for the first time in 2000. It felt like watching reality tv for the first time, there was something blatantly wrong with it. Transfixed at first, but then, a nagging feeling that I would see it again.

Space junk is a near orbit phenomenon. Its so real that NASA have entire department dedicated to it, and have to monitor what they call space debris, for successful space launches of the shuttle.

This week Clayton Anderson aboard the International Space Station jettisoned a piece of space junk weighing 635kg's, due to circle the earth for about 300 days and then re-enter the earths atmosphere. NASA took a while to come to this decision and are hopeful that it will all break up on re-entry. Thanks guys.

What's always struck me about space travel, space ownership and commercialisation of it, is that we seem to be making the same mistakes as we have done on earth. Or our methods are the same. Which is to say, problematic. Apparently there is so much space up there that a little junk would not hurt anyone.

Uh, excuse me but, in the year 2000 a 3000 litre Delta II rocket fuel tank hit the ground at 30 000 km/h. No one in the Durbanville area was notified or even knew about it till it happened. To quote Douglas Adams, maybe NASA were thinking: "Don't Panic!" but who can really tell.

We know NASA can track these objects. Maybe its the just our geographics that don't warrant notification in the southern hemisphere.

Here's a snippet below from the tubes. Notice how the anchorman and woman are trying to pass it off as a meteor shower, when the space geek is clearly telling them, its junk. Maybe they are also thinking: Don't panic!

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