We Have to Clean Up Outer Space Now in Order to Safely Launch New Spacecraft

Space JunkVia the BBC:

Scientists in the US have warned NASA that the amount of so-called space junk orbiting Earth is at tipping point. A report by the National Research Council says the debris could cause fatal leaks in spaceships or destroy valuable satellites.

It calls for international regulations to limit the junk and more research into the possible use of launching large magnetic nets or giant umbrellas. The debris includes clouds of minuscule fragments, old boosters and satellites.

Some computer models show the amount of orbital rubbish “has reached a tipping point, with enough currently in orbit to continually collide and create even more debris, raising the risk of spacecraft failures,” the research council said in a statement on Thursday.

More on the BBC

40 Comments on "We Have to Clean Up Outer Space Now in Order to Safely Launch New Spacecraft"

  1. Wanooski | Sep 3, 2011 at 9:59 pm |

    Where’s half section when you need them?

  2. Wanooski | Sep 3, 2011 at 9:59 pm |

    Double post!

  3. Anarchy Pony | Sep 3, 2011 at 5:59 pm |

    Where’s half section when you need them?

  4. We not only pollute our earth, but the space around us. LOL at humans!

  5. We not only pollute our earth, but the space around us. LOL at humans!

  6. Louis Merrigan | Sep 4, 2011 at 12:11 am |

    Mine the space junk.

  7. BartMerr | Sep 3, 2011 at 8:11 pm |

    Mine the space junk.

  8. DeepCough | Sep 4, 2011 at 12:17 am |

    Look on the bright side: at least we won’t have to worry about an alien invasion.

  9. DeepCough | Sep 3, 2011 at 8:17 pm |

    Look on the bright side: at least we won’t have to worry about an alien invasion.

    • Anarchy Pony | Sep 3, 2011 at 8:25 pm |

      Why? They’d prolly have shields and advanced debris negating systems and such.

  10. Why? They’d prolly have shields and advanced debris negating systems and such.

  11. Anonymous | Sep 4, 2011 at 12:53 am |

    And that’s before you count all the frozen piss they’ve been flushing out of the rockets all these years.

  12. And that’s before you count all the frozen piss they’ve been flushing out of the rockets all these years.

  13. Grouperdogamo | Sep 4, 2011 at 1:33 am |

    Its hopeless….

  14. Grouperdogamo | Sep 3, 2011 at 9:33 pm |

    Its hopeless….

  15. Wanooski | Sep 4, 2011 at 3:07 am |

    Now you know how ecologists feel!

  16. Toxiczen | Sep 4, 2011 at 5:57 am |

    Thr Rifts role playing game was right!

  17. Toxiczen | Sep 4, 2011 at 1:57 am |

    Thr Rifts role playing game was right!

  18. Its our planet bling.

  19. Its our planet bling.

  20. Aliens: Well at least those ignorant little monkeys can’t fuck up outer space….
    Humans: Challenge accepted.

  21. bobbiethejean | Sep 4, 2011 at 10:59 am |

    Aliens: Well at least those ignorant little monkeys can’t fuck up outer space….
    Humans: Challenge accepted.

  22. The guest | Sep 4, 2011 at 5:10 pm |

    Listen to the media parrots repeat everything Obama says. The phrase of the month is “tipping point”. Be prepared to hear it used to describe everything from Syrian unrest to junk floating around in space.

  23. The guest | Sep 4, 2011 at 1:10 pm |

    Listen to the media parrots repeat everything Obama says. The phrase of the month is “tipping point”. Be prepared to hear it used to describe everything from Syrian unrest to junk floating around in space.

    • I’ve been hearing “tipping point” used for a few years before I hear Obama use it.

    • Ever used Google ngram?  It’s a handy tool!

    • Anarchy Pony | Sep 4, 2011 at 1:44 pm |

      Well, see there are these things called tipping points, they do actually describe certain scenarios.

  24. I’ve been hearing “tipping point” used for a few years before I hear Obama use it.

  25. Ever used Google ngram?  It’s a handy tool!

  26. Wanooski | Sep 4, 2011 at 5:44 pm |

    Well, see there are these things called tipping points, they do actually describe certain scenarios.

  27. I have a conspiracy theory:  the Chinese government knew what it was doing when it blew up that satellite.  It knew that it would vastly increase the amount of space debris (how could it not?), thereby impeding future U.S. space missions by requiring the U.S. to “clean up the mess” some time in the near future.  And why would they do this?  Because several companies in the U.S. are poised to mine the moon for “rare earth elements” (e.g. http://articles.latimes.com/2011/apr/08/business/la-fi-moon-venture-20110408 ); and these happen to be the same elements on which China has cornered the market (see http://www.marketwatch.com/story/rare-earths-are-vital-and-china-owns-them-all-2009-09-24 ).   My evidence for this?  None at all.  I’m not one to believe in conspiracies… but I do enjoy watching people become seduced by them; I think, however, that it is a cooler conspiracy than those held by truthers and birthers!

  28. I have a conspiracy theory:  the Chinese government knew what it was doing when it blew up that satellite.  It knew that it would vastly increase the amount of space debris (how could it not?), thereby impeding future U.S. space missions by requiring the U.S. to “clean up the mess” some time in the near future.  And why would they do this?  Because several companies in the U.S. are poised to mine the moon for “rare earth elements” (e.g. http://articles.latimes.com/2011/apr/08/business/la-fi-moon-venture-20110408 ); and these happen to be the same elements on which China has cornered the market (see http://www.marketwatch.com/story/rare-earths-are-vital-and-china-owns-them-all-2009-09-24 ).   My evidence for this?  None at all.  I’m not one to believe in conspiracies… but I do enjoy watching people become seduced by them; I think, however, that it is a cooler conspiracy than those held by truthers and birthers!

  29. A few hours after I posted this, I discovered neat article about the national security implications of mining the moon:  http://lunarscience.arc.nasa.gov/articles/is-mining-rare-minerals-on-the-moon-vital-to-national-security

  30. I’m not sure I buy this story.

    It’s a little too convenient that we’ve basically shut down our own manned space missions, the Russians have put theirs on hold, and there’s talk of mothballing the ISS all in such a short span of time.

    This smacks more of “sour grapes” or some sort of “justification” than any real emergency. Not saying we can’t break our Earth orbits, but I’m always suspicious of convenient timing.

  31. I’m not sure I buy this story.

    It’s a little too convenient that we’ve basically shut down our own manned space missions, the Russians have put theirs on hold, and there’s talk of mothballing the ISS all in such a short span of time.

    This smacks more of “sour grapes” or some sort of “justification” than any real emergency. Not saying we can’t break our Earth orbits, but I’m always suspicious of convenient timing.

  32. CosmicAmazing | Sep 6, 2011 at 2:52 pm |

    Maybe all that “junk” will block some of that harmful sunlight and stop global warming. I bet Bill Gates is launching his trash into space right now, and anyone that makes it past the mesosphere gets a free copy of Windows.

  33. CosmicAmazing | Sep 6, 2011 at 10:52 am |

    Maybe all that “junk” will block some of that harmful sunlight and stop global warming. I bet Bill Gates is launching his trash into space right now, and anyone that makes it past the mesosphere gets a free copy of Windows.

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