Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Space Satellite Worries? It's More Dangerous for Space Vehicles than You

Worried about being hit by NASA’s UARS satellite?

You probably shouldn’t lose too much sleep about it, according to an Indiana University of Pennsylvania geoscientist.

“Thousands of old satellites, rocket boosters, and pieces of debris orbit the Earth. Many are in orbits that eventually decay due to friction with the very thin uppermost atmosphere,” explains Dr. Kenneth Coles, IUP associate professor of geosciences and director of the IUP planetarium education program.

“When they lose enough energy to fall to Earth, smaller objects burn up in the atmosphere, but very large ones can make it to the ground. NASA and NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command) track a lot of ‘space junk’ and give as much warning as practical of such events.

“Compared to the other perils of everyday life (such as riding in a car) the hazard is very minor for us on the ground, but space junk is a much greater problem in orbit, where collisions can cause considerable damage to a satellite or spacecraft.”

NASA scientists predict that 26 parts of the satellite will survive re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. The NASA prediction is that the odds of getting hit by one of these pieces are 1 in 3,200, according to Nicholas Johnson, NASA’s chief orbital debris scientist.

IUP’s Coles has both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the California Institute of Technology and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Columbia University. In addition to teaching geosciences courses, he directs IUP’s planetarium education program. His research interests include astrometry of asteroids and Moon by occultation of stars; eclipses and transits of solar system bodies; and planetarium education.

IUP’s Geoscience Department’s planetarium is nine meters (30 feet) in diameter and houses a 1966 Spitz A3P projector. The planetarium is used extensively in undergraduate instruction, both in introductory astronomy courses and in classes for Earth and space science teaching majors.

Contact Dr. Coles at

Dr. Coles | Newswise Science News
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Move over, lasers: Scientists can now create holograms from neutrons, too
21.10.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus
20.10.2016 | The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>