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What goes up... Space junk: how to clean up the Space Age's mess; > 4 million pounds of trash orbiting Earth
The Trouble With Trash
It's been 53 years and over 4,500 launches since the dawn of the space age, and Earth's orbit is a junkyard. Our orbit is littered with spent rocket stages, lens caps, broken-up satellites, frozen urine, the odd glove, bits of foil, and the tool kit dropped by astronaut Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper during a spacewalk in 2008. You name it; the low Earth orbit has probably got it.
Millions of pieces of this space debris orbit the globe at break-neck speeds, and the spacecraft that pass through orbit are in jeopardy from even the smallest objects. But while the problem is evident, the solution remains elusive. Will Earth's orbit forever resemble a scene from WALL-E? Many scientists have now turned their attention to cleaning up the clutter.
Every satellite that goes up to orbit is the pride and joy of some company, lab, or nation. But once it has outlived its purpose, it's nothing but junk. read more »
Dig into fragile Earth crust for oil or grave? Lives in peril, soaked & choked by oil gushing non-stop: Tracker & Photos
The hole dug 3 to 4 miles into fragile Earth crust that no one can seal... The Gulf of Mexico oil spill continues to gush while many of the coastal animals are currently in their reproductive seasons.
A dead turtle floats on a pool of oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill in Barataria Bay off the coast of Louisiana.
A laughing gull coated in heavy oil wallows in the surf June 4, 2010 on East Grand Terre Island, Louisiana. Oil from the Deepwater Horizon incident is coming ashore in large volumes across southern Louisiana coastal areas.
Top 5 arms exporters: who feels secure? Weapons piling up, enough to blow up Earth many times over rather than defend it
The United States of America remains the largest exporter of conventional weapons in the world, according to the latest study by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The U.S account for 30% of global arms sales, or about $7 billion per year, for the period 2005-2009, SIPRI statement says. From 2005 to 2009, the U.S. sold one-third of its arm exports to South Korea (15%), Israel (13%) and the United Arab Emirates (11%). The top U.S. military equipments included JDAM guided bombs and RGM-84L Harpoon-2 anti-ship missiles, delivered to South Korea, in 2008.
Russia remains the second largest supplier, with 23% of the global arms exports, or about $4.5 billion per year, the SIPRI data indicates. Russia’s main clients are China (40%) and India (20%), which belong to the top five of the largest conventional weapons importers from 2005 to 2009, SIPRI says. Russian exports of fighter planes included 82 Sukhoi fighters for India and 24 MI-17 helicopters for China.
Germany, whose exports doubled over the past five years, has become the world’s third-largest arms dealer, SIPRI reports. Germany now makes up 10% of the global volume. Most of Germany’s arms are sold to other European countries, such as Turkey (15%) and Greece (13%). German Leopard 2A4 tanks delivered to Turkey cost over 365 million Euros. read more »
Dome or garbage to seal hole drilled thru seafloor in Earth crust spewing oil?..dispersant chemicals make pollution worse
BP has dumped about 160,000 gallons of Corexit – chemical dispersant made by the Nalco Company - in the Gulf (as well as pumping 6,000 gallons more all the way down to the leak location). The dispersant particles bind to oil, sink, and are carried away by ocean currents. But while that could help keep a spill from reaching the shores en masse, it means the oil isn’t actually “cleaned up,” but rather diluted. And the dispersant chemicals themselves can be dangerous. Nalco’s own documents go into detail about compounds that must be handled with great care in their original form, that should not touch the skin and can damage lungs.
Top: Gulf oil spill: giant containment box towed to site. BP tows a huge dome into the Gulf of Mexico, but it is far from certain whether it can stop the oil gushing from the seafloor.Efforts on Wednesday to contain the Gulf of Mexico oil spill centered on a towering metal box the size of a four-story building that engineering teams hope will corral the crude that continues to spout from the seafloor. Bottom: Oil from the massive Deepwater Horizon spill is seen on the surface of the water in Breton and Chandeleur Sound, off the Louisiana coast. read more »
Choice & Consequence: solar, wind energy vs deepwater drilling..4.2 million oil spews into ocean /day..birds, turtles, fish dead
Top: "Large Air Spill at Wind Farm. No threats reported. Some claim to enjoy the breeze.". Bottom: in Gulf of Mexico, Deepwater Horizon oil rig explodes, burns, sinks (2 days later on Earth Day).
Gulf Oil Spill: ~210,000 gallons of oil leaking per day.
Legal battles for Earth: Amazon defenders & James Cameron stall dam; Malaysian Judge gives lands back to rainforest community
Avatar director James Cameron played a part in halting an industrial development project that threatens indigenous people of the Amazon.
Palm oil plantation. Inset: deforestation by a logging company around a Penan village in the Middle Baram region in Sarawak.
The Avatar director and one of its stars have played a part in halting an industrial development project that threatens indigenous people of the Amazon. Earlier this week, we brought you the story of James Cameron and Sigourney Weaver's trip to Brazil to raise awareness of the indigenous communities’ battles to stop the massive Belo Monte Dam on the Xingu River in the Amazon rainforest. We are now happy to report that the Dam Project Auctions have been canceled, and both stars are now in Washington DC for meetings with US Government officials.
Judge Antonio Carlos de Almeida Campelo granted a preliminary injunction (urgent) seeing “danger of irreparable harm” considering the imminence of the auction. The decision is the result of the assessment of one of two public civil actions filed by federal prosecutors dealing with irregularities of the enterprise. It focuses specifically on the lack of regulation of Article 176 of the Federal Constitution of Brazil, which requires the issuing of an ordinary law for the use of hydraulic potential on Indian lands. read more »
Ocean pollution. Sea "dead zones", oxygen-deprived, fishless: 1st recorded in 1970, 417 in 2008, largest covers 70,000 sq km
A new global study of Earth’s oceans shows a rapid rise in the number of “dead zones” - areas of seafloor with too little oxygen to sustain most marine life. The oxygen-starved waters have proliferated since the 1960s and now rank as one of the world's most pressing environmental problems.
Clocking in at over 8000 square miles (21,000 km2) this year, probably the largest dead zone today stems from the Mississippi River delta in the Gulf of Mexico. This is a site at the confluence of significant farming in the midwest and significant fishing (and shrimping) in the Gulf area. The dead zone spans east to west along the Louisiana and Texas coasts.
Several visible sites with expanding dead zones. Mississippi Delta at the top, with Yangtze River in the bottom left and Pearl River in the bottom right. The dead zones are the tinted clouds swirling at the coastal edge.
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