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RE: Space Junk
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In Space Security 2008, its fifth annual review of rubbish circling the globe, released last week, the Canadian not-for-profit group Project Ploughshares concluded that the security of space activities was under increasing threat from billions of bits of space junk, ranging from clapped-out satellites and booster rockets to tiny pieces of debris smaller than 1cm in diameter. If any one of those high-velocity bits of trash whacks into a Chinese astronaut or a communications satellite, it's lights out.

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Think you have trouble getting rid of the clutter in your living room? After more than 50 years of launching rockets and satellites into space, the human race now has to deal with the clutter left behind -- or is it "above"? Dead satellites, spent rocket stages, paint flakes, and coolant from nuclear-powered satellites continue to orbit the Earth at ultrahigh velocities.
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Space debris: evolution in pictures
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Between the launch of Sputnik on 4 October 1957 and 1 January 2008, approximately 4600 launches have placed some 6000 satellites into orbit, of which about 400 are travelling beyond geostationary orbit or on interplanetary trajectories.
Today, it is estimated that only 800 satellites are operational - roughly 45 percent of these are both in LEO and GEO. Space debris comprise the ever-increasing amount of inactive space hardware in orbit around the Earth as well as fragments of spacecraft that have broken up, exploded or otherwise become abandoned. About 50 percent of all trackable objects are due to in-orbit explosion events (about 200) or collision events (less than 10).

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RE: Space Junk
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According to the space agency Nasa, there are now 9,000 pieces of orbiting junk, weighing a total of more than 5,500 tonnes: old rocket launchers, tools and instruments dropped by astronauts, and pieces of exploded spacecraft. Examples include a glove lost by astronaut Ed White during a 1965 space walk, a camera that Michael Collins let slip in space in 1966 and a pair of pliers that an International Space Station astronaut recently let slip through their fingers.

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Two orbiting U.S. spacecraft were forced to change course to avoid being damaged by the thousands of pieces of space debris produced after China carried out an anti-satellite weapon test one year ago today.
The manoeuvring, ordered by ground controllers and conducted several months after the test, is an example of lingering problems caused by China's Jan. 11, 2007, missile firing in a bold demonstration of space weaponry against a weather satellite, said Air Force Brig. Gen. Ted Kresge, director of air, space and information operations at the Air Force Space Command in Colorado.

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SpaceJunk
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Conversation: Saving Space Junk     
Alice Gorman wants to take archaeology into orbit.
The U.S. Navy launched Vanguard 1 in March 1958. The cantaloupe-sized sphere was the fourth man-made object in space and is the oldest still in orbit--it has been around earth nearly 200,000 times. Is it "space junk"? Alice Gorman, an archaeologist at Flinders University in Australia, studies this material and wants it considered part of our shared heritage. ARCHAEOLOGY editor Samir S. Patel spoke with Gorman about archaeology in orbit, space as a cultural landscape, and astronaut poop.

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Space Junk
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Half a century of the space age has left our planet encircled by thousands of discarded objects. As Edwin Cartlidge reports, the dangers posed by this debris will only increase with time
Lottie Williams made history in the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, on 22 January 1997. Out on an early morning walk in the park, she noticed a bright light in the sky and thought initially that she was looking at a star. But several minutes later she felt something hit her shoulder. It turns out that what she had seen was part of a spent Delta rocket burning up in the atmosphere, and that a small piece of that rocket made from a lightweight metallic material had struck her (but did not injure her) as it fell to Earth.
This made Williams the only person in the world known to have been hit by so-called space junk

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Parents all over the country just lost their street "cred" this week. We can never again utter the words "don't litter" to our offspring with the same authority.
If the kids toss a used napkin out a window, drop a cup or piece of paper on the ground, or leave their remains from a picnic behind, we can't get mad. Because the kids can come right back at us: But mom ... NASA does it.

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