Although it no longer makes headlines nor the six o’clock news, about twice a month in 1978 somebody launched something into space.
NASA’s current agenda alone calls for domestic communications satellites, weather satellites, new military communications and surveillance satellites, a satellite to test the magnetosphere, one to study propulsion principles, experimental TV broadcast satellites, ocean surface monitoring satellites, one to measure the shape of the earth, some to study atmospheric radiation, and at least one satellite to study satellites. And this is only for the U.S.
So what’s the problem? The problem, very simply, is that, as Newton found, what goes up must come down.
As of 1978, there were 4,600 objects up there.
There is concern over the crowding of communications satellites in desirable orbits. Not only is there physical danger and optical obstructions as these pieces of space junk get in each other’s way, but transmitters already are up there that jam the radio frequencies of other satellites.
The potential dangers of astropollution were reported in the Summer 1978 issue of Co-Evolutionary Quarterly and in the November 1978 issue of the Progressive. The story was ranked the #22 censored story of 1978.
REPORTED IN 2009:
TWO SATELLITES COLLIDE 500 MILES OVER SIBERIA
As warned in the 1978 censored story, two communications satellites collided in an orbital accident according to a report in USA TODAY, 2/12/09. While the collision, roughly 500 miles from Earth, created a huge field of debris, the risk to the International Space Station and its crew of three is low according to NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
A subsequent story distributed by Associated Press (2/14/09) revealed that “The crash of two satellites has generated an estimated tens of thousands of pieces of space junk that could circle Earth and threaten other satellites for 10,000 years,” according to space experts. One expert called the collision “a catastrophic event.”
As of 2009, the U.S. military tracks about 17,000 pieces of space debris larger than 2 to 4 inches, along with about 900 active satellites.
Chicken Little was right back in 1978 but the mass media didn’t tell us about it.
Those who cannot remember the past
are condemned to repeat it!
— George Santayana