Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Clearing Space Junk

Newton's first law of motion states that an object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by another force so while on Earth something travelling at speed will be slowed by friction or air resistance, in space neither of these exist so an object in motion will stay in motion until it smashes into something, in the latest case the International Space Station where a piece of Space junk, the size of a flake of paint cracked the window.
Since the Soviets threw Sputnik around the planet in the 50's, the area around our planet has been getting more and more congested with pieces of junk which proves a danger to astronauts as well as large space stations.
Why not, i have always wondered, can't we just somehow use its motion to send it into our atmosphere and burn it up and that is exactly what the Japanese have tried to do with the Kounotori 6 mission which was designed to redirect debris into the Earth’s atmosphere but unfortunately succeeded only in sending itself spinning into the thin blue line and going up in a puff of smoke. 
The European Space Agency estimates the total number of pieces of rubbish in space is more than 170 million, whizzing around Earth at speeds up to 17,500mph and becoming a danger to space station glazing.
I'm sure that if NASA, the ESA and the Japanese put their minds to it they could come up with a way of deflecting the debris our way and if we could get an old Apple satellite to land on Issac Newton's grave, then what an nice twist.

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