Critical Mass wrote:
Just check out these
tables & graphs; for example...
That's quite an amazing curve... So, between 1980 and today, we have discovered MOST of the NEA's we know about today?
And - roughly during the same, short period of our planet's history - we also launched a huge fleet of man-made satellites which caused thousands of small space debris?
[Caption for below graph}: "The generation of artifical space debris has continued throughout the space age. The graph below, from the NASA Orbital Debris Program Office shows the number of space objects tracked and catalogued by the US Space Surveillance Network."
Wow - looks like our astronomical / observational skills (and technology) of spotting space objects walk hand in hand with the Space Industry's (alleged) output of space objects!
Now, here's what we can read at the above Space Academy webpage :
"Space debris exists throughout all regions of space that we have so far been able to observe, and it has done so for a very long time. We refer to this as natural space debris. It is present in the solar system, in other stellar systems, in the space between stars and in the space between galaxies. Some of this debris hinders our direct observation of various regions. An example of this is the dust that obscures much of the milky way, including our galactic centre from our vision. This is seen as dark clouds in the night sky. One prominent southern hemisphere dust cloud is the 'Coal Sack', just to the left of the Southern Cross.
What is new since the start of the space age is the presence of artificial space debris in orbit around the Earth. This comes from man's activities in space, and it is starting to cause us problems. This guide will concentrate on discussing artificial orbital space debris, although comparison will occasionally be made with the natural space debris near the Earth."
As well as artificial space debris there is also a population of natural space debris (meteoroids) that, while they don't orbit the Earth, do pass through all orbital altitudes. In fact prior to the space age, some scientists predicted that the hazard from natural debris might be so great as to make space travel very dangerous. In fact NASA spent considerable effort in trying to evaluate this hazard. Ground visual and radar observations were examined, and most of the early satellite carried meteoroid detectors.
Yeah, right ..."meteoroid detectors" - back in the '60's or 70's, eh? How exactly did they work?
And what exactly are "natural space debris (meteoroids)"? Are they small NEA's, so small that they're invisible from Earth? If so, how do we (or NASA) know about them? Or may we reasonably suspect that the "natural space debris" (that NASA talks about) are just a convenient misnomer for NEA's, which astronomers have always
been able to observe?
: "Hey, I just discovered a new, never-seen-before NEA!"
"Naah - that's just another piece of man-made space debris!"
But hey - we may soon be treated with a chain-reaction / extinction of man-made satellites...
"Donald Kessler was the first Chief Scientist and Program Manager of the NASA Orbital Debris Program Office. He is widely remembered for the 1978 paper on the possibility of collisional cascading leading to a severe orbital debris crisis. This is now referred to as the Kessler syndrome
And the Kessler guy predicted this satellite-armageddon... in 1978???