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  Archaeology: Saving Space Junk

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Author Topic:   Archaeology: Saving Space Junk
Robert Pearlman

Posts: 35829
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-17-2007 05:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Archaeological Institute of America: Conversation: Saving Space Junk
The U.S. Navy launched Vanguard 1 in March 1958. The cantaloupe-sized sphere was the fourth man-made object in space and is the oldest still in orbit — it has been around earth nearly 200,000 times. Is it "space junk"? Alice Gorman, an archaeologist at Flinders University in Australia, studies this material and wants it considered part of our shared heritage. ARCHAEOLOGY editor Samir S. Patel spoke with Gorman about archaeology in orbit, space as a cultural landscape, and astronaut poop.


Posts: 683
From: Longview, Texas, USA
Registered: Apr 2000

posted 10-17-2007 06:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dtemple   Click Here to Email dtemple     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well the article was interesting until I got to the part about Vanguard 1 "should be left up there." If it is not brought back to earth by humans, then eventually the natural laws of physics acting on it will and of course it be destroyed. Certainly bringing it back to earth is not an economically feasible thing to do in the near term but if Vanguard 1's orbit is stable for a long enough time (supposedly it should stay up there for several hundred years) then it will be practical to recover it; technology will make it practical eventually.

Lunar rock nut

Posts: 813
From: Oklahoma city, Oklahoma U.S.A.
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 10-18-2007 09:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lunar rock nut   Click Here to Email Lunar rock nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow here is our chance. cS members can pool all our money and resources and buy Endeavour when it is retired. In order to raise additional funding we will run a world wide commercial of an alien or astronaut floating among a mass of debris with a tear rolling down one cheek and a caption stating this is our backyard,someone needs to clean it up.

collectSPACE Salvage and Waste Management would be born. Many here would volunteer to crew the program.


Posts: 1140
From: Canada
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 08-20-2008 07:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for music_space   Click Here to Email music_space     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Alice Gorman, an archaeologist at Flinders University in Australia, studies this material and wants it considered part of our shared heritage.
I stumbled upon the site of Dr Alice Gorman. I found her take on space debris quite interesting.

E2M Lem Man

Posts: 846
From: Los Angeles CA. USA
Registered: Jan 2005

posted 08-21-2008 02:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man   Click Here to Email E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I guess I should weigh in here. After all, my associates and I have been successful (so far) in surveying about 100 acres of site where Apollo was built.

Aerospace Legacy Foundation was started 13 years ago in the hope that a computer center for seniors could be established when Boeing left the government parcel in Downey, CA. NASA went as far as to include that an educational center had to be built and they deeded the full size orbiter training mockup be left for the center.

In 2003 about a dozen friends and volunteers of ALF were asked by the city of Downey to see if anything of worth was left for such a center when the facility was closed in 1999. This is where we ended up becoming "aerospace archeologists".

We were fortunate that we had a few retirees and former employees that knew the differences in Apollo and Shuttle.

We were given free reign of the plant roughly two months after the loss of Columbia, and we found some scenes that could have made a fortune for the National Enquirer.

In this foul smelling, dark, damp and dreary place we found many abandoned treasures. Mostly test articles and pieces that ranged from wiring to 1/4 of an orbiter's cargo bay. Amongst all this there was the shuttle orbiter mockup - more resembling Columbia than any other bathed in the shadows - it was a spooky scene that only the Ghosthunters could have appreciated. We used our own flashlights and tried to find hard hats, until Ken Winans of the W foundation supplied us with them after he came for a tour.

We excavated as much as we could that summer and still find things here now and then. I will save more of the story for later, but that summer we learned a lot and helped to save many pieces of history that will soon be seen at the Columbia Memorial Space Center when it opens this winter in Downey, California.

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