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NASA Monitors Hunk of Junk Headed for ISS

Space.com reports that NASA is keeping a close eye on a piece of metal from the Ariane 5 rocket body that will pass by the ISS sometime on Friday. NASA reports that the hunk of space junk could get as close as 2 miles away from the ISS and Discovery, which is currently docked there; meaning both may have to be moved.

NASA is expected to make a decision regarding the move by Thursday night. The debris is expected to fly past the space station at around 11 a.m. EDT on Friday. According to Space.com, NASA flight director office chief John McCullough told reporters that, as of late Wednesday, they are confident the station-shuttle complex won't have to dodge the object.

  • grieve
    I love when they talk about distance in space... A near miss is like 500,000 miles away.

    2 Miles I suppose is rather close, BUT it's still 2 miles!
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  • jerther
    Can't they just shoot it, Asteroids style? :)
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  • ssalim
    I agree, 2 miles is not "extremely close" -- I'd say uh... 6 feet is extremely close. lol.
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  • Straight out of Idiocracy.
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  • Mr_Man
    jertherCan't they just shoot it, Asteroids style?One word: debris.
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  • jellico
    jertherCan't they just shoot it, Asteroids style?I know you were making a joke, but the one thing you don't want to do is make MORE debris in orbital space. What would be really good is if we could figure out a way to mount some sort of weapon (such as a recoiless ice cannon), that could be used to shoot at passing junk to hopefully knock it into a decaying orbit. If you miss, the ice projectile will quickly sublime so it won't add to the problem.
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  • maigo
    How fast is it moving? Cause if it's moving at 70 million miles a minute like everything else in space, 2 miles is a sneeze away
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  • WheelsOfConfusion
    Space junk is a major problem for orbiting satellites, including space stations and shuttles. Even a fleck of paint moving at orbital velocities can hit with forces similar to a bullet from a high-powered rifle. And unless it decays in orbit, it'll remain up there for decades or centuries. What's worse, each launch puts more and more of this junk into orbit. And the more there is, the more likely are collisions between junk and other junk, or junk and satellites, etc., which, as jellico said, would just create even more junk bodies floating around a thousands of miles per hour. So as time goes on, the danger for future missions will only increase unless we can find ways to nudge the debris back into the atmosphere, where most of it will burn up.
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  • fulle
    I know how NASA feels. I barely dodged an encounter with my horrible ex girlfriend today, by about 2 miles. I might need to relocate.
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  • gam3r4321
    ssalimI agree, 2 miles is not "extremely close" -- I'd say uh... 6 feet is extremely close. lol.
    in space it is. what if the rocket stage hits something and causes it to break in to little pieces...suddenly to me 2 miles dose not seem so far away. just imagine your self being up there on station. how would you feel if there was a possibility of some sort of object ripping through the hull like its tinfoil. there just being precocious. i mean there is only 1 space station up there after all!
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