Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Swerve Left To Avoid That Satellite: The Growing Issue Of Space Debris

Date:
July 10, 2008
Source:
Tel Aviv University
Summary:
Think you have trouble getting rid of the clutter in your living room? After more than 50 years of launching rockets and satellites into space, the human race now has to deal with the clutter left behind-- or is it "above"? Dead satellites, spent rocket stages, paint flakes, and coolant from nuclear-powered satellites continue to orbit the Earth at ultrahigh velocities.

Dead satellites, spent rocket stages, paint flakes, and coolant from nuclear-powered satellites orbit the Earth at ultrahigh velocities.
Credit: Image courtesy of Tel Aviv University

Think you have trouble getting rid of the clutter in your living room? After more than 50 years of launching rockets and satellites into space, the human race now has to deal with the clutter left behind-- or is it "above"? Dead satellites, spent rocket stages, paint flakes, and coolant from nuclear-powered satellites continue to orbit the Earth at ultrahigh velocities.

Related Articles


It's a serious subject. Space debris threatens the lives of astronauts and the launch of new satellites today, says Dr. Noam Eliaz, Head of the Biomaterials and Corrosion Laboratory at the School of Mechanical Engineering at Tel Aviv University. An expert in materials science and engineering, Dr. Eliaz is working with a team at Soreq NRC to create and test new materials to make the heavens safer for satellites and astronauts alike.

Hazards in Space

The oldest piece of "space junk" is the U.S. satellite Vanguard I, launched in 1958 and still in orbit. "Space debris has become a major concern recently, since collisions with such debris at ultrahigh velocities could be a disaster for spacecraft that pass through Earth's orbit," says Dr. Eliaz. "An impact could be catastrophic."

Eliaz says that the combined effects of other components in the space environment, such as atomic oxygen, might increase the damage. The researcher, a past Fulbright and Rothschild scholar at MIT, is investigating new kinds of materials that could be used on spacecraft surfaces to protect against such hazards.

Finding an Answer in Materials Science

Eliaz is developing nano-based materials with special mechanical properties, such as high strength and wear resistance, and controllable electrical and thermal properties. "This could lead to a superior material for the external blankets of spacecraft," says Eliaz, whose research has already been put to use by top biomedical device companies and by aircraft industries worldwide.

One candidate Eliaz and his colleagues have investigated is a hybrid nanomaterial which incorporates small silicon-containing cages that can open and react with atomic oxygen to prevent further polymer degradation.

The team includes Dr. Eitan Grossman, Head of the Materials Group within the Space Environment Section at Soreq NRC in Israel, and his staff Dr. Irina Gouzman and Ronen Verker, the latter also a Ph.D. student at TAU. Recent research by Eliaz and his colleagues at Soreq has been published in the journals Acta Materialia, Polymer and High Performance Polymers.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Tel Aviv University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Tel Aviv University. "Swerve Left To Avoid That Satellite: The Growing Issue Of Space Debris." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080709153152.htm>.
Tel Aviv University. (2008, July 10). Swerve Left To Avoid That Satellite: The Growing Issue Of Space Debris. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080709153152.htm
Tel Aviv University. "Swerve Left To Avoid That Satellite: The Growing Issue Of Space Debris." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080709153152.htm (accessed March 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Why So Many People Think NASA's Asteroid Mission Is A Waste

Why So Many People Think NASA's Asteroid Mission Is A Waste

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) The Asteroid Retrieval Mission announced this week bears little resemblance to its grand beginnings. Even NASA scientists are asking, "Why bother?" Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Returns from International Space Station and Sets Two Guinness World Records

Robot Returns from International Space Station and Sets Two Guinness World Records

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 27, 2015) The companion robot "Kirobo" returns to earth from the International Space Station and sets two Guinness World Records. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Supermassive Blackhole Detector Ready for Business

Supermassive Blackhole Detector Ready for Business

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) Construction of the world&apos;s largest and most powerful observatory designed to detect and analyze gamma rays has been completed in Mexico. Gamma ray particles are considered the most energetic in the universe and scientists hope to use the observatory to learn more about the supernovas and black holes that produce them. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rocket Blasts Off Carrying U.S. Air Force GPS Satellite

Rocket Blasts Off Carrying U.S. Air Force GPS Satellite

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) A U.S. Air Force GPS IIF-9 satellite launches aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket into semi-synchronous orbit. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins