Thursday, 12 February 2009
Thy will, is sadly not being done on earth, or in Heaven...
Cosmos 954 was a Soviet Radar Ocean Reconnaissance Satellite (RORSAT) which was powered by a nuclear reactor. Cosmos 954 had a special problem however; on January 24, 1978 it went out of control.
Cosmos 954 fell out of orbit and came crashing into the Great Slave Lake area of the Northwest Territories in Canada, disintegrated during re-entry into a shower of radioactive debris which spread over some 124,000 square kilometres. A massive search was begun to locate the debris that was made up of over 200 troops from both the Canadian Air Force and the US military and lasted until October. After the clean-up, the Canadian Government sent a $15 million bill to the Soviets. The Soviets paid less than half of this amount and agreed not to take back the spacecraft. The Canadians were happy with the amount they received and were happier still that the Soviets had acknowledged the spacecraft's existence.
Of the thousands of radioactive fragments that reached the earth's surface, some were potentially lethal however, less than 1% of radioactive material was recovered so 99% of the radioactive parts of this satellite are still out there in NW Canada.
Fast forward to Feb. 11, 2009 and two big communications satellites collided nearly 500 miles over Siberia. The crash produced a pair of massive debris clouds, and the magnitude of the situation will not be known for weeks at least, said Nasa spokesman Kelly Humphries.
"We knew this was going to happen eventually," said Mark Matney, an orbital debris scientist at Johnson Space Centre in Houston. The collision involved a commercial satellite, launched in 1997, and a Russian satellite launched in 1993 and believed to be non-functioning. The commercial satellite weighed 1,235 pounds and the Russian one nearly a ton. No one has any idea yet how many pieces were generated or how big they might be."Right now, they're definitely counting dozens," Matney said. "I would suspect that they'll be counting hundreds when the counting is done." As for pieces the size of micrometers, the count will likely be in the thousands, he added.
At the beginning of this year there were roughly 17,000 pieces of man-made debris orbiting Earth, Johnson said. The items, at least 4 inches in size, are being tracked by the U.S. Space Surveillance Network, which is operated by the military. The network detected the two debris clouds created Tuesday.
So not only does mankind pollute the God’s earth, we now pollute His space and I only hope and pray that when that debris does fall to earth, as its orbit finally decays, then it will not be radioactive or fall on an inhabited area.
Posted by Fr. Peter Doodes at 10:06