Space Debris: Near Miss brings attention to Kessler Syndrome

Return to the Physics Matters forum
Login to post to this thread

Public attention turns to removal of space debris following narrowly avoided collision - Mar 12, 2009 at 10:29PM
Felix Lin
24 Posts

Today, astronauts retreated to the Soyuz capsule of the International Space Station after space debris was detected too late to take evasive maneuvers.  Though no collision occurred, the incident is bringing public attention to space debris.

The Kessler Syndrome refers to the accumulation of space debris in low-earth orbit.  It is of immediate concern to engineers and physicists because of the collision hazards this debris poses to space missions.  Of particular note is the fact that objects destroyed create more debris, so a relatively clean field can turn into an obstacle course quickly.

Dr. Kessler's own thoughts on the matter are here: http://webpages.charter.net/dkessler/files/KesSym.html

The Star has an article on today's narrowly avoided collision of the International Space Station with space debris: http://www.thestar.com/article/601431

This Wall Street Journal article outlines several proposals to manage space debris: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123672891900989069.html

Post edited March 12, 2009 at 10:21 PM EST.