Space debris has become a major issue for the world today. Discuss the problem caused due to space debris and also give solutions to it.

Model Answer

Space debris are artificial material that is orbiting Earth but is no longer functional.These include derelict spacecraft, fragmentation debris from the breakup of derelict rocket bodies, solidified liquids expelled from spacecraft, unburned particles from solid rocket motors, etc.

Problem:

  • 7,500 tonnes:The estimated amount of defunct, artificially created objects that are currently in space. It threatens both crewed and uncrewed spaceflight.
  • 28,000 kph:The speed up to which space junk travel, fast enough to destroy a spacecraft.
  • With the increasing amount of space debris, there are fears that collisions could set off a chain reaction (called the Kessler syndrome after American scientist Donald Kessler) in which the resulting space debris would destroy other satellites and so on, with the result that low Earth orbit would become unusable.
  • Probability of an individual on Earth being hit by falling debris.

To forestall a massivebuild-up in debris, space agencies have begun taking steps to mitigate the problem like,

  • Passivation:Satellite explosions are reduced by deactivating various systems.
  • Design for demise:Designing with material that burn up on re-entry.
  • Deorbiting systems:Under international guidelines, satellites are brought down within 25 years after mission life.
  • RemoveDebris:Capture the debris using different technologies like harpoon or net.

Today the whole world is dependent on satellite communication system. But the manner in which the space debris is growing, it will become problematic for this system to work properly in near future. It is high time that the world should come together to draw a comprehensive plan to tackle this issue.

Subjects : Current Affairs