2011-06-30 / Sam Bari

Are the space guys watching more closely?

You can’t beat a system you can’t understand
By Sam Bari

According to UFO enthusiasts, we on Planet Earth have been witness to an inordinate number of UFO sightings in the past year or so. The objects in question appear to be making themselves more obvious than in the past. Some have lingered for long periods as if they wanted us to be certain that they were not figments of our imaginations, or something manmade, like weather balloons.

If one is to believe some of the hundreds of allegedly credible people who have reported the sightings, there is little doubt that the objects are real. Unfortunately, we don’t know what or who they are. None have landed, and no passengers or pilots have come out and introduced themselves, or even made their presence known.

In other words, we have seen flying objects that appear to be mechanically controlled, but no visible signs of life, alien or otherwise, has come to the forefront.

The reasons for the increase in visitations can only be speculative, but a few things come to mind that could be causing the space guys concern.

It appears that earthlings have such a penchant for irresponsible disposal of waste that we have not only polluted our planet beyond repair, we are now polluting space. The amount of space junk orbiting the Earth has been a lifethreatening hazard to the astronauts manning the International Space Station.

Last Tuesday, Russian Mission Control announced that orbital debris came within a couple of hundred yards of the station. The crew briefly took seats in escape capsules as a safety precaution. Spokesman Valery Lyndin said that the six crewmen spent about half an hour in two Soyuz escape capsules docked at the station before the space junk passed without incident.

Apparently, the space station periodically faces close encounters with debris, and engineers normally adjust the station’s orbit to reduce the probability of impact. However, if monitors fail to spot the space junk in time to perform the maneuver, the crew has to board the capsules in case of a collision, which could prove fatal.

NASA announced in a specialist newsletter that millions of chunks of metal, plastic and glass are whizzing around the Earth. It’s the garbage left from 4,600 launches in 54 years of space exploration. Although the collision risk is low, the junk travels at such high speed that even a tiny shard can cripple a satellite worth tens of millions of dollars.

Additionally, NASA reports that the U.S. Space Surveillance Network tracks around 16,000 pieces bigger than four inches across. Nonetheless, there are around 500,000 pieces between a half and four inches, while the total of particles smaller than half an inch probably exceeds tens of millions, according to the NASA website.

The rubbish mainly comes from old satellites and upper stages of rockets whose residual fuel or other fluids explode while they turn in orbit. As the junk bumps and grinds, more debris results.

Between 1991 and 2009, only four known collisions with satellites causing damage have occurred, according to France’s Center for Space Studies. In low Earth orbit, where the station is deployed, debris impacts at around six miles per second or 22,400 mph. To cope with such threats, the ISS has some shielding, but mainly depends on maneuvering to get out of the way, an operation it has had to do several times to avoid disastrous collisions.

Many believe that the space guys have been watching mankind pollute our planet for quite some time. According to historians, modern man has been creating garbage for upwards of 195,000 years, most of which has been dumped in the oceans.

Last week, 27 renowned marine scientists warned that mass extinctions of species in the world’s oceans are inevitable if current trends of over-fishing, habitat loss, global warming and pollution continue.

The scientists explained that vanishing species from sea turtles to coral would upend the ocean’s ecosystem. Fish are the main source of protein for a fifth of the world’s population and the seas cycle oxygen which helps absorb carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas produced by human activities.

If the space guys are watching, there is a good chance that our extraterrestrial neighbors are not too happy about our waste disposal methods, particularly now that they are spilling over into their territory.

The space guys are probably weary of watching us destroy our planet and threaten others with our pollution while we live in a system that even they can’t understand.

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