Monday, December 9, 2013

The Seriousness of the Kessler Syndrome

The Kessler Syndrome recently stared in the hit movie "Gravity," but what is it? Well, it all starts with our trash. The problem with space debris isn"t that it"s just a problem of having all this trash floating around, or that it will have an environmental impact (since anything that re-enters the atmosphere typically disintegrates). The real problem with space debris is the speed of that debris, and the possibility that said debris will impact other (more valuable) objects in orbit. And we"re not talking about a fender-bender here; we"re talking about two rather fragile thousand-pound objects colliding at speeds of tens of thousands of miles an hour.

In the event that two objects impact one-another, the collision creates a massive debris cloud which is also traveling at thousands of miles an hour. Anything from stray solar panels to a screw could obliterate another spacecraft (imagine a screw traveling 20,000 miles an hour). That debris would then hit other objects in orbit, which creates more debris and hits more objects get the picture.

To read the full article, see:

No comments:

Post a Comment