Thursday, June 30, 2011

When Space-Junk Attacks!!!

The Russians, Americans and Japanese personnel on the ISS had a narrow escape Tuesday when a piece of debris came within 335m of the platform.

While debris' size is unknown, experts suggest even a small object could do considerable damage to the ISS because they travel at many thousands of kilometres per hour. NASA's Associate Administrator for Space Operations, Bill Gerstenmaier, said it was the closest a debris object had ever come to the station.

The Russian space agency instructed the ISS crew to take their evacuation places aboard the Soyuz capsules which are normally used to ferry crew to and from the platform, but enough of them are present on a permanent basis so they can be used as lifeboats if an emergency arises. Normally, the station uses thrusters to move out of the way of junk, but this alert was raised too late to do so.

Scientists estimate that there are hundreds of thousands of junk fragments in space of up to 10cm (four inches) in size, but there are many millions more pieces that are smaller.

Colonel “Stargazer” Smith, Orbital Operations Commander of UNETIDA has suggested the debris may be listed as "unidentified" in NASA's orbital debris, junk and hazards database if it is parts of the extra terrestrial spacecraft the UN agency secretly destroyed in 2004, but made no official confirmation.

Source: BBC

No comments: