Space debris has become a growing concern in recent years, since collisions at orbital velocities can be highly damaging to functioning satellites and can also result into more space debris. Some spacecraft, like the International Space Station, are now armored to deal with this hazard. Armor and mitigation measures make satellites or human spaceflight vehicles like the shuttles very expensive and heavy.
We think that with the space travel gaining importance, space debris mitigation has assumed a lot of significance. Space debris is the collection of objects in orbit around Earth that were created by humans but no longer serve any useful purpose. Space debris is basically all space objects non-functional and human made, that include fragmentation debris (42%)-break ups of satellite, unused fuel, dead batteries, rocket bodies (17%), mission-related debris (19%), non-functional spacecraft’s (22%).
These objects consist of everything from spent rocket stages and defunct satellites to explosion and collision fragments. The debris can include slag and dust from solid rocket motors, surface degradation products such as paint flakes, clusters of small needles, and objects released due to the impact of micrometeoroids or fairly small debris onto spacecraft. As the orbits of these objects may overlie the trajectory of spacecraft, debris is a potential collision risk.
The space debris is very hazardous if this impact a spacecraft or even a space walking astronaut. No one with a venture in the future of outer space would dispute the fact that near-Earth orbit has become increasingly populated with man-made junk and hence, the probability of accident due to this has grown to very high level.
There are approximately 15,000 pieces of space debris in Earth’s orbit that are larger than three inches and can be currently detected. And there are probably millions or even billions of smaller pieces of space debris which cannot be detected. Despite the size of these objects, they all have the potential to be mortal because of the speed that they are traveling, especially since most space debris are traveling hundreds or thousands of kilometers per hours.
Well no doubt space debris is a dangerous problem so we proposed some new methods to mitigate space debris that includes use of decayable material for the construction of spacecraft’s, use of nanotube mesh technique using laser and nanobots, recycling of space debris and energy production from space debris.
“We have already polluted our own planet earth,we should now ensure that the space is kept least polluted for our own safe exploration of the outer space and also for the safety of aliens from other planets if they happen to exist.”
I am Sourabh Kaushal, Electronics & Communication Engineer and Space Science Enthusiastic from Haryana, INDIA. I have done my engineering from Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra, Hharyana, INDIA. Currently, I am INK Fellow and spoke at INKtalks in association with TED conference 2012 at Pune, INDIA.