Home https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Science https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Space debris left in a low-ground orbit has become the equivalent of a ‘new floating island of plastic’

Space debris left in a low-ground orbit has become the equivalent of a ‘new floating island of plastic’



Pieces of unwanted debris left by humans in orbit around the earth have become equivalent to a ‘new drifting island of plastic’ in outer space, an expert has warned.

Scientific models estimate that there are more than 128 million pieces of space debris larger than 1 mm and 34,000 pieces larger than 10 cm.

These range from old rocket parts to paint flakes that have cut off satellites

Now Ekaterini Kavvada, Directorate-General for Defense and Space of the European Commission, has warned that this space junk is not ‘a theoretical threat, but a reality’ – similar to the threat from floating plastic islands in the earth̵

7;s oceans.

She added that dirt can cause damage to active European and other satellites, adding that if we do not respond in a safe and timely manner, the consequences will be ‘harmful’.

Pieces of unwanted waste left by people in orbit around the earth have become the equivalent of a 'new drifting island of plastic' in outer space, an expert has warned (artist's impression)

Pieces of unwanted waste left by people in orbit around the earth have become the equivalent of a ‘new drifting island of plastic’ in outer space, an expert has warned (artist’s impression)

HOW MUCH WASTE IS CONTAINED?

Scientific models estimate that there are more than 128 million pieces of space debris larger than 1 mm and 34,000 pieces larger than 10 cm.

Fragments as small as 1 cm have the potential to completely destroy satellites due to the speed at which they travel.

Artificial satellites are used in communications such as satellite TV and telephone calls and navigation, which include GPS (Global Positioning System).

These types of spacecraft also play a role in weather forecasts, storm tracking and pollution and astronomy.

Speaking at the 13th European Space Conference, Ms Kavvada said: ‘Space waste circuits have become the new driving island of plastic – if I were to compare – which poses a threatening threat to the safety and security of all traffic and space sustainability. ‘

Fragments of space debris as small as 1 cm have the potential to completely destroy satellites due to the speed at which they travel.

Artificial satellites are used in communications such as satellite TV and telephone calls and navigation, which include GPS (Global Positioning System).

These types of spacecraft also play a role in weather forecasts, storm tracking and pollution and astronomy.

Ms Kavvada said that since January 2019, there have been more than 5,000 satellites in space, but only 2,000 are still active.

She said: ‘Hopefully – and that’s why we cross our fingers every day – these satellites could possibly deorbit and mostly burn up in the atmosphere once their useful life is over.’

However, Ms Kavvada warned that there are still almost 3,000 inactive satellites drifting in space, with recent data suggesting that there have been more than 500 crashes or explosions of these space objects, resulting in fragmentation.

She said adding webs of network satellites, known as mega-constellations, to space could result in Kessler Syndrome – a chain reaction in which more and more objects collide to create new space debris to the point where Earth’s orbits became unusable.

Mrs Kavvada said: ‘This already sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.’

Rolf Densing, Director of Operations at the European Space Agency, who also spoke at the space conference, said: ‘We live in a time where mega-constellations are building up and the population of objects in orbit around us is growing by the thousands every year.

‘So now we have about 1,000 Starlink satellites in orbit.

‘By the end of this decade, we will be talking about tens of thousands of satellites in orbit around us.’

Sir. Densing said ESA’s European Space Operations Center (ESOC) receives ‘hundreds of collision warnings’ on a fleet of about 20 satellites operated by the agency.

He said: ‘About every other week, on average, we have to fly the collision avoidance maneuver.’

Ms Kavvada said it was necessary to limit the production of space debris, avoid the generation of new waste and develop instruments to remove existing space debris to ‘ensure a long-term sustainable use of space’.

She said: ‘Even in a theoretical scenario where no further objects are added to the space environment, the results of simulations derived from ESA and NASA show that the critical density reached in LEO (low-Earth orbit) is such that mitigation alone is no longer sufficient. ‘

It is estimated that there are 170 million pieces of so-called 'space junk', but only 22,000 traces (artist's impression)

It is estimated that there are 170 million pieces of so-called ‘space junk’, but only 22,000 traces (artist’s impression)

Mrs Kavvada added: ‘So today, if we do not respond in a safe and timely manner … the consequences will be harmful.’

Last year, the UK government allocated £ 1 million to seven private companies to help track space debris as part of its space surveillance and tracking (SST) program.

Britain will also play a critical role in building The Claw, which will be the first satellite ever to remove space debris.

Part of ESA’s Clearspace-1 mission, scheduled for 2025, The Claw will use a seaweed movement to collect waste before giving it a controlled re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere so it can decompose safely and away from life.

WHAT IS SPACE JUNK? More than 170 million pieces of dead satellites, used rockets and flakes of paint pose a ‘threat’ to the space industry

An estimated 170 million pieces of so-called ‘space debris’ – left behind by missions that can be as large as used rocket stages or as small as paint flakes – in orbit along with about 700 billion. US $ (555 billion £) space infrastructure.

But only 22,000 are tracked, and with the fragments capable of traveling at speeds above 16,777 mph (27,000 kmh), even small pieces can severely damage or destroy satellites.

However, traditional gripping methods do not work in the room as suction cups do not work in vacuum and the temperature is too cold for fabrics like tape and glue.

Grippers based on magnets are useless because most of the dirt in orbits around the Earth is not magnetic.

About 500,000 pieces of man-made waste (artist’s impression) currently orbit our planet consisting of unused satellites, bits of spacecraft and used rockets

Most proposed solutions, including waste harps, require or cause strong interaction with the waste, which can push these objects in unintentional, unpredictable directions.

Researchers point to two events that have exacerbated the problem of space debris a lot.

The first was in February 2009, when an Iridium telecommunications satellite and Kosmos-2251, a Russian military satellite, accidentally collided.

The second was in January 2007, when China tested an anti-satellite weapon on an ancient Fengyun weather satellite.

Experts also pointed to two places that have become worryingly cluttered.

One is low-ground orbits used by satnav satellites, the ISS, China’s manned missions, and the Hubble Telescope.

The other is in geostationary orbit and is used by communications, weather and surveillance satellites to maintain a fixed position relative to Earth.


Source link