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RE: Space Junk
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Space debris has passed the "tipping point," according to a report released Thursday by the National Research Council, which called on NASA to find ways to better monitor and clean up the orbiting junk threatening active satellites and manned spacecraft.
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Las estrellas ayudan a rastrear basura espacial

Un equipo de investigadores del Real Instituto y Observatorio de la Armada (ROA), en Cádiz, ha desarrollado un método para seguir el movimiento de objetos geoestacionarios basándose en la posición de las estrellas, lo que puede ayudar a monitorizar la basura espacial. La técnica se puede aplicar con pequeños telescopios y desde lugares poco oscuros.
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The space junk problem

Right now, there is no good solution. Someday we might put scavenger satellites up that can grab the larger pieces and move them into a safe orbit (if we can determine what a safe orbit might be.)
We could use a powerful "laser broom" to melt the front of a satellite, increasing its atmospheric drag to bring it down faster. We might launch a satellite with a package of compressed foamy gel, and coat a problem object with that, to reduce the chances of damage from collision and also increase its air friction.
None of these methods is feasible now, and they will always be expensive. There are some things we could do. The McDonnell Douglas corporation has redesigned its booster rockets to vent leftover fuel into space, reducing the chances of an explosion scattering debris all over the place. Some rocket motors now carry sufficient fuel to allow them to be immediately sent down to atmospheric destruction when their brief mission is ended.

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It can be very easy for the untrained eye to assume that these things seen whizzing through the sky are natural meteors. However, it turns out that every year, approximately 200 kilograms of man-made meteors plummet through the atmosphere and are most likely misidentified as natural pieces of space rock.
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Anticipating Collisions between Spacecraft and Space Junk

In September, a piece of debris broke off from a 19-year-old nonoperational NASA satellite 330 miles up in the sky. The United States Space Surveillance Network (SSN), which is responsible for monitoring the more than 22,000 satellites and other objects in orbit, detected the event, plotted out the fragment's orbital path, and determined that it was headed for the International Space Station (ISS). If it hit the $100 billion laboratory, the junk could cause catastrophic damage. Upon receiving the warning, NASA decided to manoeuvre the spacecraft out of the path of the debris, a task that it now performs about twice a year. The threat of such a collision has more than doubled in just the past two years, says Nicholas L. Johnson, NASA's chief scientist for orbital debris.
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Giant balloons could clear out space junk

Helium balloons are known for pulling things up, but they could be a great way to drag defunct satellites down to Earth, a team of engineers says.
Dead satellites pose a hazard to other orbiting spacecraft. In 2009, one of them wandered into the path of a still-functioning satellite, destroying both craft and spawning thousands of pieces of new space junk.

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An Australian company Tuesday said it had developed a laser tracking system that will stop chunks of space debris colliding with spacecraft and satellites in the Earth's orbit.
Electric Optic Systems said lasers fired from the ground would locate and track debris as small as 10 centimetres across, protecting astronauts and satellites.

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Space debris
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Space debris threatened ISS nearly 700 times since 2001

The Russian Space Forces have warned the Mission Control Centre about the hazardous proximity of space debris to the International Space Station (ISS) over 100 times in 2009.
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Kessler syndrome
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The Kessler Syndrome, also known as collisional cascading, is a scenario, proposed by NASA scientist Donald J. Kessler in a 1978 publication, where the volume of space debris in low Earth orbit is so high that objects in orbit are frequently struck by debris, creating even more debris and a greater risk of further impacts.  The implication of this scenario is that the escalating amount of debris in orbit could eventually render space exploration, and even the use of satellites, unfeasible for many generations.
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