Sunday, September 25, 2011

Space junk reaching 'tipping point,' report warns

Reuters) - The amount of debris orbiting the Earth has reached "a tipping point" for collisions, which would in turn generate more of the debris that threatens astronauts and satellites, according to a U.S. study released on Thursday.
NASA needs a new strategic plan for mitigating the hazards posed by spent rocket bodies, discarded satellites and thousands of other pieces of junk flying around the planet at speeds of 17,500 miles (28,164 kilometres) per hour, the National Research Council said in the study.
The council is one of the private, nonprofit U.S. national academies that provide expert advice on scientific problems.
Orbital debris poses a threat to the approximately 1,000 operational commercial, military and civilian satellites orbiting the Earth -- part of a global industry that generated $168 billion in revenues last year, Satellite Industry Association figures show.
The world's first space smashup occurred in 2009 when a working Iridium communications satellite and a non-operational Russian satellite collided 490 miles (789 km) over Siberia, generating thousands of new pieces of orbital debris.
The crash followed China's destruction in 2007 of one of its defunct weather satellites as part of a widely condemned anti-satellite missile test.
The amount of orbital debris tracked by the U.S. Space Surveillance Network jumped from 9,949 catalogued objects in December 2006 to 16,094 in July 2011, with nearly 20 percent of the objects stemming from the destruction of the Chinese FENGYUN 1-C satellite, the National Research Council said.
The surveillance network tracks objects approximately 10 centimetres in diameter and larger.
Some computer models show the amount of orbital debris "has reached a tipping point, with enough currently in orbit to continually collide and create even more debris, raising the risk of spacecraft failures," the research council said in a statement released Thursday as part its 182-page report.
"The current space environment is growing increasingly hazardous to spacecraft and astronauts," Donald Kessler, the former head of NASA's Orbital Debris Program Office who chaired the study team, said in a statement.
In addition to more than 30 findings, the panel made two dozen recommendations for NASA to mitigate and improve the orbital debris environment, including collaborating with the State Department to develop the legal and regulatory framework for removing junk from space.
Current international legal principles, for example, ban nations from salvaging or otherwise collecting other nations' space objects.
"The problem of space debris is similar to a host of other environmental problems and public concerns characterized by possibly significant differences between the short- and long-run damage accruing to society," the report said.
It cited "damage related to atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, storage of nuclear waste and long-lived pharmaceutical residue in underground aquifers. Each has small short-run effects but, if left unaddressed, will have much larger impacts on society in the future," it said.
The study, "Limiting Future Collision Risk to Spacecraft: An Assessment of NASA's Meteoroid and Orbital Debris Programs," was sponsored by NASA. (Editing by Jane Sutton and Todd Eastham)


Volume 8, Book 73, Number 26:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle kissed Al-Hasan bin Ali while Al-Aqra' bin Habis At-Tamim was sitting beside him. Al-Aqra said, "I have ten children and I have never kissed anyone of them," Allah's Apostle cast a look at him and said, "Whoever is not merciful to others will not be treated mercifully."
Volume 8, Book 73, Number 100:
Narrated Abu Aiyub Al-Ansari:
Allah's Apostle said, "It is not lawful for a man to desert his brother Muslim for more than three nights. (It is unlawful for them that) when they meet, one of them turns his face away from the other, and the other turns his face from the former, and the better of the two will be the one who greets the other first."
Volume 8, Book 73, Number 92:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said, "Beware of suspicion, for suspicion is the worst of false tales. and do not look for the others' faults, and do not do spying on one another, and do not practice Najsh, and do not be jealous of one another and do not hate one another, and do not desert (stop talking to) one another. And O, Allah's worshipers! Be brothers!"
Volume 8, Book 73, Number 91:
Narrated Anas bin Malik:
Allah's Apostle said, "Do not hate one another, and do not be jealous of one another, and do not desert each other, and O, Allah's worshipers! Be brothers. Lo! It is not permissible for any Muslim to desert (not talk to) his brother (Muslim) for more than three days."
Volume 8, Book 73, Number 84:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "The worst people in the Sight of Allah on the Day of Resurrection will be the double faced people who appear to some people with one face and to other people with another face."
Volume 8, Book 73, Number 64:
Narrated Anas:
I served the Prophet for ten years, and he never said to me, "Uf" (a minor harsh word denoting impatience) and never blamed me by saying, "Why did you do so or why didn't you do so?" Volume 8, Book 73, Number 63:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said, "Time will pass rapidly, good deeds will decrease, and miserliness will be thrown (in the hearts of the people), and the Harj (will increase)." They asked, "What is the Harj?" He replied, "(It is) killing (murdering), (it is) murdering (killing).

Volume 8, Book 73, Number 47:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said, "Anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should not harm his neighbor, and anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should entertain his guest generously and anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should talk what is good or keep quiet. (i.e. abstain from all kinds of evil and dirty talk).

Volume 8, Book 73, Number 46:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet used to say, "O Muslim ladies! A neighbouress should not look down upon the present of her neighbouress even it were the hooves of a sheep."
Volume 8, Book 73, Number 4:
Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Amr:
Allah's Apostle said. "It is one of the greatest sins that a man should curse his parents." It was asked (by the people), "O Allah's Apostle! How does a man curse his parents?" The Prophet said, "'The man abuses the father of another man and the latter abuses the father of the former and abuses his mother."
Volume 8, Book 73, Number 6:
Narrated Al-Mughira:
The Prophet said, "Allah has forbidden you ( 1 ) to be undutiful to your mothers (2) to withhold (what you should give) or (3) demand (what you do not deserve), and (4) to bury your daughters alive. And Allah has disliked that (A) you talk too much about others ( B), ask too many questions (in religion), or (C) waste your property."