Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Article on AGW's Parallel to the Problem of Space Debris

I have an article today on the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media: "The Climate Problem: We've Been Here Before."

It's about how the climate issue is tracking the arc of earlier problem: space debris. That environmental issue was once ignored, even as models from a few far-sighted researchers forecast a problem called the "Kessler Cascade."

That cascade -- an exponential increase in the amount of space debris due to collisions, as each collision creates a quantum jump in the number of pieces of debris, resulting in an increased probability of yet more collisions -- became apparent in 2009 with the collision of an Iridium telecommunications satellite with an old Russian satellite. The Kessler Cascade has the potential to render orbital space unusable, and even to create a belt of debris around the Earth that could someday effectively trap us on the surface. The world space community is now scrambling to find a solution, but some think it's already too expensive to clean up space and we'll simply have to live with the problem.

Read it here.

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