Space Junk Heritage

For almost fifty years we have been putting chunks of metal into orbit around the Earth. Many of these later come back down (or rather burn up in the atmosphere), but some still remain up in space. Most of these are tracked but the worry is that unknown objects are effectively like "an invisible mine waiting to impact on some other piece of space hardware" (quote from the Bad Astronomer) as they are travelling at a hefty speed. The general view amongst the space agencies is to think of ways to clear up some of this junk before it causes serious problems.

However, as an archaeologist from Flinders University (Ian's neck of the woods) points out, some items up there such as Vanguard One are actually representative of human space flight history. Dr Alice Gorman would like to see some classic satellites listed as World Heritage sites. An interesting thought as they certainly are important. My worry is how UNESCO would cope with broadening their portfolio beyond the surface of the Earth.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Wednesday 24th May 2006 (17:06 UTC) | Permalink
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