Presentation by: Kavvya Mukkavilli
HYPOTHESIS:Q1) What is Space DebrisQ2) How much debris is out there? Q3) Does Space Debris affect Space Exploration?
Q4) Does Space debris affect creatures on Earth?Before research, this was my answer to the questions:I thought that space debris was basically just rubbish caused by meteors and shooting starsI thought that there was a lot of debris just encircling the EarthYes, I think space debris does affect exploration. But I thought that only big pieces of space-debris could really make an impactI thought space debris couldnt affect the earth as I thought that all particles of debris would burn-up before reaching Earths atmosphere
WHAT EXACTLY IS SPACE DEBRIS?
Space Debris is man-made junk, which is rotating around the Earth, even at this exact moment..
Space junk could be any man-made object, including; nuts, bolts and solar cells. Lost satellites, chipped-off paint, rocket stages and even astronauts gloves.
How Much Debris is Out there?!?Now that we know what space debris is, lets find out how much debris is actually encircling the Earth.
As you can see, the number of debris particles range from 9000 to over half a million. And even though most of the particles are the size of stamps, they are traveling extremely fast and could, in fact, leave a major impact on anything it comes across.
A 1999 study proved that there are more than 4million pounds of debris orbiting earth and 110,000 of the particles are all 1cm and larger
But whats really dangerous is that the space debris is breaking up. In fact, more than 125 break-ups of debris are happening every year. At this rate, we wont even be able to see beyond Earth (even with a telescope) as our view will be blocked by the debris particles.
This is an environmental problem! quoted by Nicholas Johnson. Nicholas Johnson, the chief scientist and programme manager for Space Debris at NASA and his team have built a computer which is able to calculate past and future amounts of debris. The computer predicts that even without future rocket or satellite launches, the amount of debris will stay circling Earth up until 2055, then the debris will increase even more!!!
Does Space Debris Affect Space Exploration?!? As I said before, although most debris in space is small, it is traveling extremely fast. Below heights of 2000 km, the average speed is over 36,000kmph. At this speed, collision can and most probably will be severe.Most particles of debris, base-ball-sized and/or bigger are a dangerous threat to shuttles and even astronauts in space shuttles.NASA has had to replace more than 80 space shuttle windows which were marked by particles of debris, just in the past few years.NASA has also had to change the flight path several times just to avoid the space debris.
However, studies show that shuttles in outer-space for 3-5 years have been struck by debris particles more than 30,000 times and have had no major effect!!!
IMPLICATIONS CONCERNING SPACE DEBRIS!!!
First of all, when debris particles re-enter earths atmosphere, they act like meteors which light up the sky. Luckily, most of the time they either burn up before they reach lower parts of Earths atmosphere or land in water. However, we may not always come out so lucky.For example: sixty-nine particles of debris re-entered Earths atmosphere in 1997 ninety-one objects fell back in 1998 and in the first six months of 1999, 57 of the debris particles came flying back to Earth.Luckily, no-one was hurt in any of these cases. But the worst, re-entry in history was the Skylab. Skylab was a 78 ton US space-station, launched in 1973, it had run out of fuel and was flying back 6 years later. Parts of Skylab fell into the Indian Ocean and the rest in the deserted parts of Australia. Again, no-one was hurt.But the most recent horrible re-entry happened in 2006. Parts of a Russian satellite zoomed past an air-bus carrying over 270 passengers. The near-miss took place over the Pacific Ocean. What I found funny is that the Pacific is supposed to be one of the safest places to bring down a satellite or shuttle since it is one of the least-populated places in the whole world!!!
Believe it or not, scientists have still not arrived at a permanent solution for the problem of space debris. However, space organizations are trying.For example:
The ESA has built a 34m antennae which is right now monitoring the debris. The antennae has 2 radars. One to track the debris particles and the second radar to take photos and even videos of the moving debris. The ESAs antennae helps spot busy orbits, stopping collision with satellites or shuttles.NASA has also set up a similar sort of monitoring device. Scientists at NASA have also suggested setting up lasers to vaporize the debris. However, since 75% of Earths surface is made up of water and a huge amount of whats dry is not populated, there is a highly likely chance that the debris will either burn up, land in water or land where it is not populated. That is why both organizations are not too worried but thats mainly because theyre one of the main reasons that the debris is up there in the first place.
But for now, all space organizations are using their debris monitoring systems and just hoping to avoid the debris and hoping that when debris re-enters Earth, it either burns up or lands in water!!!
Damage caused by space debrisSpace debris looks exactly like a meteor or shooting star as shown through telescopeA space debris monitoring satellite (from Earth) Places around the Pacific where space debris has hit
Top 21 Sources of Space Debris since 2000
Top 21 Sorces of Space Debris since 2000
Sources: www.bbc.co.uk/science/space/solarsystem/earth/spacejunk.shtml www.esapub.esrin.esa. www.volconvo.com www.geographical.info/outerspacedebris
Space Encyclopedia written by Linda.K.Glover and Astronomy written by Mark. A. GarlickBack to the Moon PresentationSpace Debris on Google video and Monitoring Space Debris ESA on you tubePreeti Prayaga Environmental Scientist from NZ