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How To Recycle Space Debris: Earth's Front Porch Is A Mess

Humanity started exploring the solar system only 60 years ago and has already made a very expensive mess. More than…

Humanity started exploring the solar system only 60 years ago and has already made a very expensive mess. More than 500,000 pieces of debris larger than a marble litter the bands of space where geosynchronous and low-Earth orbiting satellites cluster around the planet. Earth’s front porch needs a cleanup.

You may not be able to tell by looking, but quite a few products of human design are cluttering up the night sky. Not just active satellites – which total 4,857 according to the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs – but also a massive number of dead or smashed satellites, fragments of rocket stages, and other pieces of debris orbit the planet at speeds of thousands of miles per hour. There’s also a Tesla Roadster out there.

There’s plenty of incentive to clear up the space junk: It’s valuable. We are surrounded by $ 300 billion worth of abandoned satellites. Også, debris kan medføre alvorlige risici for fremtidige missioner i rummet &#821

1; enten vi sender nye satellitter eller lanserer skip med nyttelast eller mennesker eller materialer utenfor verden i fremtiden.

Blowing Up Our Space Trash

Some ideas about cleaning up space debris have been more destructive than constructive. One of the earliest ideas for the disposal of space debris was, “Let’s blow it up.” Both the United States and Russia tested this method for decades ago. Beide landen abandoned this solution, since it just created more space debris. China, unfortunately, missed this memo and still takes the blow-stuff-up approach to space junk.

In 2007, tijdens een test van het land’s anti-satelliet systemen, China lanceerde een raket op een van hun eigen broken satellites. On the one hand, the satellite was destroyed, which probably made the Chinese military very happy about their program’s success. På den annen side, cirka 2.000 nye stykker af store rum, debris og utallige småskala fragmenter af den resulterende shrapnel var nu hurtling rundt om i verden, putting spaceships og andre satellitter på risiko for sammenstøt. No one was happy about this. Particularly the Russians, when a chunk of the exploded weather satellite hit a satellite of their own, five years later.

Less destructive tests have been conducted, however. In 1996, een test werd uitgevoerd op de Mir ruimte station waar panelen of gel werden opgesteld op de buitenkant van het schip om te zien welke ruimte-junk was gevangen op hen. Mens mikroskopiske debris var fanget – små fragmenter af malinger, elektronik, væskedråpler, og lignende – det var nuhere nær en effektiv metode til at rydde op i den massive mængde mikroskopiske debris som orbits jorden. So, alternative methods have been proposed for both large and small space debris.

Harvesting Space Junk

The RemoveDebris experiment, a program launched by the University of Surrey in the UK, is making steady progress towards a simple design that may Just work: a fleet of space whaler craft. By using both nets and harpoons to capture space debris, RemoveDebris slows the speed of the objects until they drop out of orbit: a simple yet effective approach to reducing large chunks of debris.

The project is also experimenting with Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID) systems that will be used by “chaser ships” to mark debris for removal. After tagging, a space junk harvester will be deployed to harpoon and return the debris to Earth.

The RemoveDebris team has worked to test their system on Earth, and last month, the first test was carried out in space. Space.com hosted the following video from the project showing the test of their network system, which caught a piece of space debris without causing it to break up.

The United States decided to go its own way, focusing on tracking the objects in the valuable geosynchronous orbit region where communications and spy satellites operate.

Cataloging Orbiting Debris

The US Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) introduced its space cleanup plan in 2011. The agency will improve the way we place objects in geosynchronous Earth orbit to support recovery at the end of the satellite’s life. The DARPA Phoenix program seeks to create new, less bulky designs for satellites, increase the versatility of their use and their longevity, and find safe ways to deliver payloads into space more effectively. Other proposed uses include harvesting materials and reusing components from outdated, non-functioning, or retired satellites in geosynchronous orbit, essentially recycling materials in space without bringing them back to the planet. In short, the U.S. intends to pioneer space recycling and reuse.

The value of space debris is a significant economic issue. Clean up large chunks of satellite, or even intact satellites, must be prioritized based on the value of materials recovered and the risk of leaving debris in place creates for new satellites.

Sure, we could feasibly shove most of the space debris back down to the planet. Men de fleste store satellitter i omløb rundt om jorden er privat og anses for proprietære eller vigtige til national sikkerhed. Man kan ikke bare gribe noget i rummet uden at skabe mulige politiske konflikter. Selv om denne spørgsmålet er vigtigt at tænke på, at den nuværende scene i vores rums oprydningsinitiativer, vi ikke har midlerne til at gå op og bringe tilbage alt itact.

Og der er et mindre, lige så farligt problem til stede, at bør

The Smallest Debris Carry Huge Risks

In August 2018, the International Space Station sprung a leak. A tiny hole punctured the Soyuz capsule docked to the station, apparently due to passing space debris.

The challenge with small fragments of debris in orbit around the planet is not size but speed. Een klein, vast-bewegend object kan enorme schade aanbrengen op een satelliet of ruimtestation. An astronaut hit by one of these shards could be killed. As popularly depicted in the movie Gravity – or in reality, by the damage done to the space shuttle by fragments of paint or the damage to the Russian satellite caused by a chunk of the exploded Chinese satellite from five years prior – a chunk of material the size of a bolt must maintain speeds faster than a bullet in order to stay in orbit around the planet.

There is no current practical solution for cleaning up space micro-debris. Det er et problem som ligner på at finde og fange mikroplastik i havet. De partikler er for små og området for patruljer er for fast og skiftende. Både China and Russia are pushing the development of Earth-based laser systems to remove small debris from orbit. Such systems would work by reducing the momentum of these objects, causing them to spiral into Earth’s atmosphere and burn away

A good way to think of the need to clean up space junk is to picture low-Earth and geosynchronous orbit as our planet’s front porch. If we want to come and go from the planet, we have to clean the porch. Den sidste ting vi trenger er for den udadgående sti til stjernene at være fyldt med chunks of sharp metal.

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Faela