Presentation on theme: "Space pollution is comprised mainly of decommissioned satellites and other space junk left in orbit by man. Space pollution was believed to be impossible."— Presentation transcript:
Space pollution is comprised mainly of decommissioned satellites and other space junk left in orbit by man. Space pollution was believed to be impossible to create because of how vast of an area space encompasses. Space junk was originally broken into smaller pieces in the hopes that these pieces would leave orbit and burn up in the atmosphere. Instead, the space pollution simply continues to orbit the Earth and break into smaller pieces by colliding with other space debris.
On October 4, 1957 the first artificial satellite was launched. This metallic ball was called Sputnik I, weighing 184 pounds and carrying equipment to measure the density of the atmosphere. However, 96 days later Sputnik I re-entered the earth's atmosphere. Still, it was considered a large-scale success. On April 12, 1961 the race for who would be the first man in space came to an end. A Soviet test pilot, Yuri Gagarin, became the first human being in space. These two events marked the beginning of exploration in a new frontier and the beginning of a new and unfamiliar type of pollution.
A major threat to America's endangered environment is pollution. When a scheduled space shuttle enters space, it leaves satellites, shuttle parts and other debris which stay in space and cause more damage than we think. This pollution of man-made objects in space affects us here on earth as well and will continue to affect us in future travel.
Satellites, solar panels, rocket bodies and fragments from space shuttles that are floating in space and are no longer functional are considered space debris. This type of debris has the speed to collide with meteorites and make further opportunity for damage to other objects in space. Even very small objects can do considerable damage. A paint chip could puncture the space suit of an astronaut. This debris can also float to earth and re-enter the earth's atmosphere. Over 14,000 objects have fallen to the earth over the past 30 years.
In 1978, the Soviet Union Kosmos 954, which contained a nuclear power source,re-entered over Canada and left debris over an area the size of Austria. In 1969, five Japanese sailors were injured by pieces of space debris that hit their ship. The largest piece, weighing one thousand pounds, landed in Australia in 1979. It has also been reported that the Challenger's windshield was damaged by a paint chip in 1983. Although no life- threatening damage has resulted from collisions thus far, the potential threat remains.
Many solutions are being considered by scientists and engineers, however, the challenge to finding a solution lies within all of the nations who have helped to pollute our new frontier. If we do not accept this challenge, I feel the long-term consequences will jeopardize our future travels in space and damage our earth's land and its inhabitants.
Galactic Garbage Truck: Picture space as an ocean. Then picture EDDE (Electrodynamics Debris Eliminator) as the trawling net. Once EDDEs 200 nets scoop up the space garbage, each piece could be flung back to Earth.
Long Live Lasers: Compared to other high-priced solutions, James Masons cosmic cleanse is cheap: only a million bucks. Mason, a NASA research associate, wants to zap individual pieces of junk with a laser anchored to Earth. The idea is to slow the trash so the individual pieces de-orbit. Think Duck Hunt meets Laser Tag. It's kind-of like air traffic control for near earth orbit, writes The Huffington Post.
Celestial Dodgeball A half-mile-wide ball made of aerogel would be shot into space to act as a debris collector. The friction generated from the impact would send the trash hurtling back to Earth. Sounds cool, right? It is, save for one teensy-tiny problem: the locked- into-a-fixed-orbit ball can t pick its targets.
The Golden Balloon: Last year Global Aerospace Corporation, a private California-based engineering firm, announced the Gossamer Orbit Lowering Device, or GOLD. Using a large, ultra-thin balloon that dramatically increases the aerodynamic drag of the satellite, GOLD willallow the dead satellite to enter the Earth's atmosphere quickly and burn up. Very similar to Cubesail, in fact. GAC reports that if their device were used by all satellites under U.S. regulations, the number of space- junk-on-space-junk collisions would decrease 40 percent by 2025.
Drag and Drop: The newest solution to space pollution, CubeSails, was designed by scientists at the University of Surrey. In a nutshell: a 5X5 meter, remote-controlled, parachute-like device uses air resistance to drag defunct satellites to a fiery reentry much sooner than expected. Test- trials will commence later this year.