In the movie “Gravity” trouble starts for astronauts on a shuttle space mission when another country fires a missile into space to destroy one of their own spy satellites. The debris and thrust from that destruction sets off a chain reaction of destruction of other satellites and space stations orbiting the Earth as the initial debris flies at accelerated rates and punctures and shreds those other entities, throwing more deadly and destructive debris into the space shit-storm that has the one remaining surviving astronaut doing an impossible scramble and swim across Earth’s orbit to find a craft she can possibly use to get back to Earth. The new mission seems impossible, as she is barely ahead of the approaching tsunami of charging debris as it strikes each possible thing she might find usable for self-rescue.
That movie fiction became fact this past week for the International Space Station (ISS)…
… as some sort of space debris impacted one of the structure’s windows…
They are saying the damage is “superficial” but the obvious concern it still there, and it opens the discussion about all the space junk and structures polluting the immediate space in Earth’s orbit. The fact is the “Gravity” scenario is not really a a far stretch. The random space junk impact is always a threat, but a distant mathematical one as space agencies carefully calculate their launches to the most safest coordinates.
However, politically-driven nations have destroyed their own orbiting satellites in the past, and will do so again, even destroying other nations’ property up there, adding more space debris as projectiles racing through the heavy traffic of Earth’s orbit.
In Other Worlds:
Astronomers are cautious when comparing other planets to our on certain levels, such as color: Could Earth’s Light Blue Color Be a Signature of Life?
Mind you, when they say ‘life’ they don’t mean a civilization of intelligent beings. It’s usually microbial in reference, with some slim chance of plant/animal life, and typically related to Earth’s life conditions.