Climate Change Odd Spot #1 – Space Litter

Posted on June 25, 2010


Thank goodness, even climate change has an odd spot.

Without the blues to soothe me, reading and writing about this topic has the potential to making me over into Mr. Frowny Face, 😦  who—despite what some may assume—is not me.  Anyway, if any topic ever needed more silliness and less doom and damfoolery, that topic is climate change.

The story has to do with space debris.  A lot of the stuff people put up in space eventually comes down, which is what you want it to do to make room for new stuff.  The atmosphere has been helping out with removing the debris by providing a little friction to slow the debris down and haul it out of orbit.  Where it flames and dissolves in the atmosphere.

Enter climate change to mess up a good thing.  What is happening is that the upper atmosphere is now cooling and thinning, a change scientists attribute to rising carbon dioxide levels.  In fact, at the altitude of 300 kilometres, the atmosphere has been reducing in density by an estimated 5% a decade.

This means that there is less atmosphere to slow down  and brake the space debris, resulting in junk which stays in orbit 25% longer than before.

Space litter.

I’m sure it’s somebody’s problem.  Somebody’s got to go out into orbit with a grabby-stick and a bucket and clean it all up.

But compared to the usual consequences of carbon and climate change?–Friends, this one I’m just going to laugh at.


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Posted in: climate change