Earth's new mini-moon may actually be 1960s space junk


Or SOL 2020, so it matches the temporal context.

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I really should have left on that joint-shaped UFO years ago

We gotta get Harry Broderick on the case.


My first thought after reading NASA’s latest anouncement of going to the moon was I hope they clean up some of their mess.

Admittedly it was also my first thought when moon-visitor Ken Mattingly came to talk at my childhood church and went on at length about all the equipment left on the moon. (Of course he quantified it all in terms of U.S. dollars wasted not rubbish accumulating.)

If only homo-economicus could treat the whole universe like they’re treating Antarctica (i.e. leave nothing behind).

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Beat me to it with the Devo.

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See also, J002E3, now suspected to be the upper stage of an Apollo rocket, which occasionally comes back into the Earth-Moon system to say hi:

And for people that are worrying that humans are somehow ‘messing up’ space by leaving the odd rocket stage floating around, the sun pushes out a solar wind made up of electrons and protons (and occasional small nuclei) which amount to 1.5 million tons. Per second. So we’ve got a long way to go before we’re adding a noticeable amount to the solar system.
As Douglas Adams reminded us, “Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.”


The moon is pretty small though. Its surface was pristine before we got there and I count that as evidence against ancient human astronauts and visitors from other solar systems.

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We said the same shit about earth. “It’s so big, we can’t fuck it up.” We have pretty effectively fucked it up, especially for US. So that’s the not the point, the whole of space. The space directly AROUND us is the point, junking that up so we can’t leave effectively to explore much farther out.


Space won’t care. It’ll continue just fine regardless. Humans living on the ISS do care. And those traveling through earth’s near space. Or those who rely on satellites.

Just like the earth will be just fine regardless of how much we pollute it till it can no longer support life - the beings living there? Yeah - they’re screwed.


Depends on what sort of bounds you are using. If by “space” you mean the visible universe, or even more than that, then you are right. If you mean our little chunk of cis lunar space, allow me to introduce you to the Kessler syndrome.


Yeah, I really should have clarified “I’m not talking about low Earth orbit”. (The subject of the post, 2020 SO, is outside the orbit of the Moon). All the crap we’re leaving in LEO is going to bite us in the arse sooner or later.
Once you get outside of, say, geosynchronous-orbit, it’s a lot less of a problem.


The answer to the Fermi Paradox: technological civilizations litter themselves to death. Orbital trash is suicidal.

Earth First! We’ll strip-mine the other planets later.

Before I clicked, I associated that with Merle Kessler aka Ian Shoales of Duck’s Breath Mystery Theatre. The Kessler Syndrome? “I gotta go.”


The thing is little problems can quickly become big problems when trying to navigate a vessel around hazardous objects.

Even geosynchronous space junk has yet to be catelogued and incomplete/incorrect charts are a serious danger when one has to plot a safe course.

I liked your post (points for the Douglas Adams reference) and I get your point that space is really big. I guess my issue is that your argument is one I’ve heard plenty of ignorant people present about the ocean and meanwhile - for us navigators anyway - nightmares about semi-submerged shipping containers remain a constant reality.


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