U.S. agency adopts new space junk rules to reduce exploration risks

  1. There are ways to clear small scattered debris using lasers to degrade their orbits ablatively -- and it's a useful technology to develop, anyway -- but (A) it's expensive and (B) it would currently technically be against treaty.

  2. If I'm not mistaken, it also would kill the orbiting satellites and any additional satellites we try to put up there. Essentially any technology we enjoy thanks to satellite tech would no longer be available.

  3. Do note that the white dots on that picture is zoomed out and not to scale. Otherwise we'd be surrounded by hundreds of thousands of orbiting space junk each the size of New York City.

  4. LOE debris is not as big of a deal as higher up - there's still atmospheric drag, so their life is finite. In fact, I recall a recent (in the last year) launch where something went wrong (unexpectedly high atmospheric drag iirc? due to weather or space weather, can't remember) and they basically lost an entire load of satellites - they lacked the propulsion to get higher and so they just ended up burning up on the way back in.

  5. Worse than the failed satellites, Musk can de facto set conjunction mitigation policy since Starlink controls over half of all active satellites in orbit.

  6. It should be noted that kessler syndrome is considered a bit of a joke in the scientific community. Much like moon helium 3 as a fuel source, its a meme for columnists to write about for clicks.

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