Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How About Space Dust to Clean Up Space Junk?!

I know, I have hammered on this a lot, but it IS an interesting problem that needs to be dealt with.
From the Dvice article:

  • NASA estimates that "there are more than 21,000 orbital debris objects larger than 10 centimeters (roughly four inches) in diameter in low Earth orbit and approximately 500,000 object particles between one and 10 centimeters, with the number of debris particles smaller than one centimeter in excess of 100 million."
100 million people  100 million!  Not an easy cleanup for sure but there might be an easier way that doesn't involve satellites that would trap, skim or just plain blow  stuff up.  

From the Naval Research Lab comes a really different idea.  They suggest boosting 10 to 20 tons of tungsten dust into low Earth orbit.  This would form a gigantic "cloud"  that would impart huge drag on anything small passing through it. One or two passes and the object start to de-orbit all on their own.   Plus the beauty of the dust system consists of particles so small that it has no effect on larger rockets passing through and the beauty is that it cleans itself up as well!  Just as it de-orbits small pieces of debris it has the same result on it's own material, slowly de-orbiting and burning up in the upper atmosphere like so much cosmic dust!

read the complete article here

1 comment:

kallamis said...

Agreed. Maybe. I don't know. There is something in the back of my mind, from a long time ago. Something about tungsten. May not be applicable in this situation however. Now if I can just remember what it was.
But holy smeg , 100 million. What the bloody H... have we been doing up there. We not only use our planet for trash, we use space as well. Maybe it's not a good idea for us to go too far into space yet.
So, my next question. Which planet or satellite asteroid, etc do you all want to see turned into our garbage dump.
Or will we end up just using resources up, and then attempting to move on from place to place, just using.
We've had a lot of that in sci-fi, with us being attacked. Hmmm. Maybe we will become the alien attackers in the future.
Lovely view of our species I have today. I really shouldn't watch the news.