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'Urgent need' to remove space debris

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EC:

Rapunzel:
IT truly is amazing the crap we have left up there flying around.

Oceander:

--- Quote from: EC on April 25, 2013, 02:35:35 PM ---From the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22299403

More at link.

At the risk of sounding like a foam at the mouth Gaian - In 60 years we have so badly polluted low Earth orbit that it needs cleaning?

--- End quote ---

It's not so much about pollution as it is high velocity and a lack of atmosphere.  The little stuff becomes like tiny missiles racing around; when it hits something the impact can be ferocious.  The space shuttle windows were inspected after every flight to look for damage like this:


NASA has a webpage with some other images of the damage caused by micrometeorites in orbit - mostly due to stuff that got up there because of us:  http://orbitaldebris.jsc.nasa.gov/photogallery/photogallery.html

It's almost a virtual certainty that space operations are going to leave debris so it's sort of inevitable that we'll need to figure out how to start clearing lanes through the stuff; otherwise we'll simply close ourselves in with a blanket of junk we can't get through.

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