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Self Bombardment

Updated on September 17, 2011
NASA's UARS
NASA's UARS
International Space Station
International Space Station

News

Two things that have been in the news over the past few months were asteroids and space junk.

The Maya calendar supposedly indicating that the end of the world will come in 2012, has raised people’s speculation as to whether it is possible for an asteroid to hit the earth.

After a piece of space junk nearly hit the International Space Station, NASA has been forced to take a serious look at the ever increasing problem of garbage in space.

Now it would appear that not all the junk is going to stay in space.

An obsolete six and a half ton climate probe will plummet to the ground on the 23rd September 2011.

Just like an asteroid, NASA cannot say where it will hit the earth until 2 hours prior to its crashing and then they can only guess within 6,000 miles.

They say that it should hit somewhere between the latitudes of Northern Canada and Southern South America. Isn’t that great? The only places it won’t hit are the poles where there are no people.

Space Junk
Space Junk
Asteroid Strike
Asteroid Strike

Chances

NASA says it expects the probe to break up into 26 pieces large enough to survive burning up in the re-entry to earth’s atmosphere.

They also say that these pieces should fall within an area of 500 miles. Where ever this 500 mile stretch may be.

Experts say that there is only a 1-in-3,200 chance of someone being hit by a piece of this debris. This though is due to a good chance that the pieces will fall into the sea.

The chances are only this low because most of the planet is covered by sea. It is nothing to do with any plans they have made to protect us.

NASA and other agencies must learn to clear up their space junk whilst it is still in space and before it could kill someone on the earth.

People are already concerned about a possible asteroid causing their death; must they now fear old satellites as well?

At least when the Russian’s satellite crashed to the earth, it was due to a malfunction not planned. NASA, on the other hand knew that this probe would one day crash to the earth and did nothing to prevent it.

In recent years more and more satellites have been put into space, are we to expect all of them to one day plummet back?

If so, then as the number increases, so does the probability of one hitting a person.

It has been said that it is inevitable that one day an asteroid will strike earth with devastating effects, the experts just can’t tell us when.

With more satellites going up, when will the time come that we stand more chance of being killed by a defunct satellite, than we do from an asteroid?

At least asteroids are natural phenomena and can’t, at this time, be avoided. That is not the case with satellites; they are made and put there by man.

Continue with your telecommunications, spying and space explorations but do it in a manner that is safe to those of us on earth.

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    • profile image

      joejoeNYC 

      6 years ago

      I think Elenin is more of a concern then >space junk

    • topquark profile image

      topquark 

      6 years ago from UK

      I wrote a hub about space junk just last week (http://topquark.hubpages.com/hub/space-debris). It is very worrying. Fortunately *most* of the stuff that falls to Earth burns up in the atmosphere - I suppose compared to other day-to-day dangers, the risk of being hit by a falling satellite is fairly small. The number of satellites in orbit is definitely something NASA and other space bodies should be considering (reassuringly, there are some organizations that have been set up to monitor the situation) - it's getting crowded up there!

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 

      6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      The "space junk" is only a tiny percentage of the small bodies bombarding the Earth constantly. Most burn up in the atmosphere. As space junk accelerates to huge speeds in decaying orbits, falling towards Earth's gravity pull, and then deaccelerates into our atmosphere, temperatures of thousands of degrees build up until melting and/or disintergration point is reached. Some pieces do reach the surface; most are small and wouldn't penetrate your roof. Yes, you can get hit and you can be struck by lightning, too: about the same odds...Bob

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