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article imageWill Space Debris leave us grounded on Earth?

By Bob Norman     Feb 6, 2007 in Technology
As the amount of debris orbiting Earth increases, so does the danger to spacecraft. Scientists warn we may be reaching the point of critical mass.
Last weeks missile test by China left a trail of new debris orbiting the Earth and added to an ever growing space junk problem. For years Scientists have been afraid of space debris destroying a large spacecraft and starting a cascade effect that could knock out satellites and threaten the Space Station.
Early this year, after a half-century of growth, the federal list of detectable objects (four inches wide or larger) reached 10,000, including dead satellites, spent rocket stages, a camera, a hand tool and junkyards of whirling debris left over from chance explosions and destructive tests.
The Scientists fear that the amount of debris could cause a domino effect that would build up over time as one craft after another was destroyed, adding to the orbiting junk yard. The Chinese test has only quickened the time frame for this cascade to happen.
If their predictions are right, the cascade could put billions of dollars’ worth of advanced satellites at risk and eventually threaten to limit humanity’s reach for the star
China has been warned in the past of the possible consequences of their actions but chose to ignore the warnings. They really can't be blamed since Washington and Moscow did the same between 1968 to 1986, when they conducted more than 20 tests of antisatellite arms that created clouds of jagged scraps.
If we don't do something soon to end the litter that we,as a planet population,are putting in our orbit,we may limit our ability to leave the planet at all.
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