Space Exploration/Space Debris
QUESTION: What is your opinion on the growing issue of space "junk"? Do you think we are taking the right steps to prevent further debris?
ANSWER: Hi, thanks for writing. Space junk is a real problem. Although we are doing a lot toward detecting it, I feel we need to do more to prevent this danger to our satellites and astronauts, returning dangerous matter to earth or discard it to an area where things are not orbiting in. Write anytime!
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QUESTION: Thank you for answering my previous question. I have read in my research that smaller space debris poses a greater threat. Do you agree with this statement?
ANSWER: Right! There is likely more of the smaller particles, they are so small they cannot be detected, yet still can damage a spacecraft at orbital speeds. Write anytime.
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QUESTION: What steps do you think we should take to help prevent future space debris and to get rid of the space junk we do have?
Designing spacecraft so they will escape orbit when commanded to (keep a storage of fuel) or fall from orbit at such an angle that debris burns up thoroughly and lands in the ocean. Getting rid of debris is probably limited to large objects easily detected and that can be pushed out of orbit, but that is unlikely due to the difficulty of safely docking to debris. Thanks!