Is it complete science fiction that in movies they wear magnetic boots or would it be reasonable to use electromagnets to make sure items don't bounce away from each other? Would it make sense to save parts in an orbit higher or lower than geosynchronous and count on the different angular velocities account for most of the positioning?
You're right about that motif, Ann. I remember one of the first space movies I saw as a kid in the 1950s. An astronaut was outside the spaceship doing some maintenance and bumped into something outside the ship and it sent him flying, tearing his tether and sending him out into space spinning with no oxygen. Probably pretty accurate.
The video, of course, is a simulation, so things may look a lot easier than in reality. OTOH, it's amazing how we've been doing accurate synchronization in 4D for decades, including when human lives are at stake.
I agree about the speed, Chuck. It all looks like it's in slow motion. And maybe in some sense it is. But it must be a technological wonder to match speeds and connect like that. Just a slight speed difference and you have crash.
You'd think that if you can track with any degree of precision where all this LEO junk is, you could use an intelligent satellite to catch up these items and give them a "tap", enough to destabilize them and cause re-entry. I know there's an initiative to require all satellites to be equipped with some de-orbit mechanism so that when they reach end of life they don't become just another piece of flotsam out there. I wonder how long it would take for this stuff to re-enter on it's own. Safe to assume that with all the stuff that's up there now, not anytime soon.
I do find that now with all the sats floating around dead and possible interference with GPS units and C3 sats that DARPA is looking at the junk. 25+ years ago some of us were looking at automated ways to do just this but found more roadblocks than a prison break. Even if we had eveything on the launch pad, NASA and the Govenrment were not going to let a private group launch. Things have changed some and hopefully enough that we can get the junk cleaned up.
I remember the program. It came out about 5 years after the design work had begun. My parents thought we were working on the show instead of the real thing.
Although plastics make up only about 11% of all US municipal solid waste, many are actually more energy-dense than coal. Converting these non-recycled plastics into energy with existing technologies could reduce US coal consumption, as well as boost domestic energy reserves, says a new study.
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