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Old 06-06-2012, 10:02   #1
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the great space garbage patch

hello all,

not to be a downer but.......

i was pondering, upon my usual pondering spot, about the fate of disposable modern technology as it relates to marine navigation and the seeming degradation of general seamanship. don't get me wrong, i love my GPS but in short; it occurs to me that all global satellites must have a finite operable shelf life and once they're obsolete or irreparable they are destined for a life of eternal orbit. correct me if i'm wrong but being just computers-in-space they are inevitably going to break down. what then? do they get replaced with a newer, bigger, faster, better, more model? if so then we begin contributing to the great space garbage patch. maybe thousands of years from now the aliens we've been waiting to hear from will finally make the trip in hopes of contact only to get stopped by the floating cosmic flip flop or shopping bag that jams the raw ionized air intake. what is it that makes us, and i include myself here, so lazy that we're unwilling to learn how to do it ourselves instead of having an electronic cheat sheet? thoughts please.
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Old 06-06-2012, 10:26   #2
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Re: the great space garbage patch

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...once they're obsolete or irreparable they are destined for a life of eternal orbit.
Actually, no. Over time their orbit deteriorates and eventually they fall into the atmosphere where they burn up (unless they are large enough for some bits to make it all the way to the surface). Check out, for instance, what happened to Skylab, the original U.S. Space Station.
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Old 11-06-2012, 14:36   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denverd0n
Actually, no. Over time their orbit deteriorates and eventually they fall into the atmosphere where they burn up (unless they are large enough for some bits to make it all the way to the surface). Check out, for instance, what happened to Skylab, the original U.S. Space Station.


Have a look for JTrack on Google or for the Heavens Above website.
You can spot these satellites on clear nights and the Heavens Above website will tell you where and when after telling it your lat & long.
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Old 11-06-2012, 15:11   #4
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Re: the great space garbage patch

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Originally Posted by Sailor Robius View Post
what is it that makes us, and i include myself here, so lazy that we're unwilling to learn how to do it ourselves instead of having an electronic cheat sheet? thoughts please.
Welll..............

Man seems to have always tried to make his life a little easier. From the first flint spear to today.

Maybe he was just trying to make it so the little lady could be more comfortable or he just needed to find more time to snuggle.
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Old 13-06-2012, 16:19   #5
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Re: the great space garbage patch

I would think that if a person is worried about the loss of GPS, they might want to learn how to use a sextant. Just sayin'.
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Old 13-06-2012, 16:51   #6
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Re: the great space garbage patch

I long ago came to the conclusion that the money was not in getting new stuff up there, but in building a space garbage truck, and charging the owners to bring the junk back,
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Old 14-06-2012, 06:25   #7
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Re: the great space garbage patch

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I long ago came to the conclusion that the money was not in getting new stuff up there, but in building a space garbage truck, and charging the owners to bring the junk back,
Maybe. There is a LOT of junk up there! NASA already puts a lot of time and effort into keeping an eye out for it, and routinely moves satellites a bit to avoid collisions.

Still, despite the reality that there is a lot of junk up there, the fact is that eventually it all falls into the atmosphere. It does not just stay up there forever.

Now, what I wonder is what sort of pollution it causes when it falls out of the sky. Do space agencies even consider that when they build these things? You know, try to make them out of materials that won't create serious pollution issues when they eventually do burn up in the atmosphere?
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