space debris

From: Theresa Hitchens (
Date: Tue Jan 31 2006 - 16:33:34 EST

Dear All:
I always forget that the list only accepts plain text!  Anyway, in case
folks missed it, there is a story in

covering the latest article in Science by Nicholas Johnson and a
colleague at NASA. I would be interested in hearing from folks off-line
as to their thoughts about its significance. The study found that "Only
remediation of the near-Earth environment - the removal of existing
large objects from orbit - can prevent future problems for research in
and commercialization of space."  It also found that even if no new
space launches were to occur from today, the debris population would
begin rising steeply after 2055; with an average of 18.2 collisions
predicted over the next 200 years. That doesn't seem like a lot; but
they seem to pretty worried about population density in the 900-1,000 km
altitude band. For those interested, I can also pass on the original
Science article off-line. 

All the best,
Theresa Hitchens
Director, CDI
1779 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: 202-797-5269
Fax: 202-462-4559

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