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back to article Now Space Station forced to DODGE flying Japanese junk

The International Space Station is due to swerve tomorrow morning to avoid a debris cloud from a Japanese satellite, the Russian Flight Control Centre said. A Russian Zvezda service module will fire booster rockets to shift the station out of the path of the space junk if the agency is certain it's necessary. The dodge is …

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Anonymous Coward

PST

PST seems to have a very odd offset from GMT.

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Boffin

Re: PST

01:22am PST anyone?

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Joke

Space/Time warp?

Probably all that junk flying around up there has caused a break in the space/time continuum down here...

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Boffin

Time for Space Cowboys

To all you entrepreneurs out there, looks like it's time for a career as Space Cowboys. We need someone to round up all the sapce junk. This would be perfect for the various small spacecraft under development. All they need is a grappling arm and perhaps some small remote control boosters that can be clamped on the trash. One good push with the arm would be enough to deorbit small junk while the boosters would cover the larger trash.

Simply push it "Down" and let gravity and the atmosphere do the rest.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Time for Space Cowboys

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planetes

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Solution

Is this

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Re: Solution

Or maybe this: http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Space_harpoon_could_corral_space_junk_999.html

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Thumb Up

Re: Solution

Its a little known fact that that device is almost ready for deployment to the ISS.

Boffins are still working on getting it to make the "Eeeeoooowwwwwppp" sound in space.

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TRT
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And now we know...

what all that playing "Defender" in the late 80s was all about. Training.

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TRT
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Re: And now we know...

Ack. Slight memory failure. I meant Scramble (and Super Scramble etc).

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salvage 1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mR-gz9EFO8

twas done in the 70's so why not get him to do it again

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Alien

Aerogel....

While the stuff is incredibly expensive (isn't everything involving space) couldn't they simply fly a giant petri dish filled with aerogel around to "capture" some of this junk? The aerogel would stop it simply "bouncing" off the the capturing device (which in turn could cause more issues)/

Maybe theres some obvious reason why this idea isn't workable (too large an area to cover?)

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Bronze badge

Not obvious...

Consider the other few dimensions: it's a volume to be hoovered, not an area, and you can do the maths to roughly determine that volume; some of the things to be hoovered are moving around higgledy-piggledy; and, in other cases, they're moving around, in orbits, at jaw-dropping/body-splattering speed. If it were all neat-n-tidy, then cleaning up would be easy.

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Joke

Re: Not obvious...

If it were all neat and tidy, it wouldn't need cleaning at all!

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Alien

Bah!

I cite clause three in the Stupid Astronomy Rulebook, chapter Pluto Not A Planet Anymore and declare Earth No Longer a Planet 'cause of all the junk it hasn't cleared away.

Long live Near-Sun Non-Cometary Stable-Orbiting Giant Rockball Object Earth!

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FAIL

-- humbug!

The orbit which a planet is meant to clear is its own around the sun, not stuff that orbits it (if that were the case then no planet would be allowed a moon!)

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Re: -- humbug!

Two words: "Dinosaur Killer".

Send your fail to the twats who would rather argue what to call something than do real science and then go out for a look at it first hand.

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Dinosaur Killer...?

Are you claiming the dinosaur killer originated in Earth's orbital path? I thought standard theory but it as an object dislodged from one of the planetless orbits called the asteroid belts.

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Silver badge

What they need

Is a satellite with a huge fricking magnet on it.

The satellite would orbit the earth and gradually get bigger and bigger until we can drop it down to earth somewhere uninhabited and reclaim all that gold and platinum.

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Gold badge

Re: What they need

1. The things up there are generally non-magnetic, because otherwise the magnetic field from the Earth really buggers up their orbits.

2. What makes you think that there is lots of gold or platinum? If it's because of the yellowy orange colour you see on them, then I suggest yoy save your effort and just collect lemons and oranges instead;the orange colour is the plastic polyimide.

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Alert

Golden brown, texture like sun...

I think you'll find the gold suff is actually brown - a consequence of 'naut turds being sprayed out the winows of the ISS/shuttles rather than brought back down with them, coating everything up there in a thin film brown-ness.

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Re: What they need

Ok then. Tiny little satellite. With massive wings of aerogel like they used on that probe to gather comet bits.

The aerogel would mop up any small flecks of debris, then the satellite can be deorbited safely.

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FAIL

Not Sure?

The ISS only swerves out of the way if the chance of collision is more than one in 10,000

So if its 1000-1 then its move along nothing to see here?

Or is my maths wrong?

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Yes, your maths are wrong

One in 10 000 = 0.0001

One in 1000 = 0.001

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Go

Three words:

Big fucking laser.

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solar sail

That's a pretty good solution...IIRC solar wind causes the orbit to wander to one side, long term, so eventually the perigee will dip low enough to pick up drag, which will circularize the orbit then, very soon, the item will deorbit. Nice, passive thing, a solar sail. No fiddling with fuel, boosters, or giving the item a big quick push. Just a bigger solar wind effect (over years) to hasten the deorbit time.

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Just deploy the deflector dish, Captain...

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Boffin

*lots* of little objects

Note *very* small objects can cause *serious* damage. The Shuttle windshields regularly took surface damage (the structure is 3 layers deep) and on at least 1 occasion got through 2 layers.

These could be as small as paint "flecks"

The *ideal* rubbish collector would cause the stuff to de-orbit (it's *very* unlikely any stuff this size would survive and be literally vaporized before it reached the ground) without consumables.

1 possible way would be to give the object a surface charge and rely on their motion at right angles to the Earth's magnetic field to convert motion into either an upward or downward (deeper into the atmosphere) movement. Trouble is an electron gun would gain as much +ve charge as the object acquired -ve charge. Not necessarily a problem provide it was much bigger and in a higher orbit. IIRC Lasers have also been suggested to surface ionise such objects without the laser being charged in turn.

Another *serious* (I think The Aerospace Corp suggested it) idea was a satellite with a gas tank. Flying ahead of the debris cloud the sat releases a *precisely* timed gas burst (pretty much anything should be viable) ahead of the cloud. Before the gas disperses the cloud is suddenly flying (at about M23) through an "atmosphere" that is 100 (1000?) times denser and either vaporizes or decelerates and falls to a lower orbit (where it should decelerate further).

Will anyone get *funding* to deal with this rather dull (until some $Bn DoD bird gets hit of course) problem?

Probably not.

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What about this...?

I read on Slashdot that some artist wanted to throw a disc into orbit for alien archaeologists.

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9231973/Artist_s_project_to_blast_gold_plated_artifact_disc_into_orbit?taxonomyId=19&pageNumber=1

My first thought was "great, more spacejunk".

Would a NASA cleanup respect moronic arts projects, or would they just sweep them all away?

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