Rebecca K. North Dakota

Concerns with Environment: Making Space Safe

A debate on the concern of space debris and space exploration, and the importance of doing our part in making our environment safe. -Rebecca K.

Dear President:

I'm glad to be able to come to you today with my concerns. As you read this letter, I just have to let you know a few things. What I will be talking about to you is not a normal current issue, but I still thought I should discuss it with you. I greatly believe that this letter will be helpful, specifically in the future, so that we don’t need to worry about it at a later date.

From multiple inspirations, I have really grown to care about this "small" but important issue of space pollution. A small definition of space pollution is that it is the gathering of debris, like rocket boosters and broken satellites that are causing concern for the safety of space and space exploration. Similar to other pollution, the different amounts of space debris that are currently floating around the earth has been growing for multiple years. The creation of this “belt of debris” has caused serious concern, like the possibility of damage to existing satellites, along with dangers from other sharp objects traveling at high speeds.

Even though not all of our satellites going into space are being harmed by space debris, even one getting damaged could affect multiple people on earth. For example, if one of our satellites went down, weather reports and information for GPS systems wouldn’t be able to get to our space stations. It could cause panic. To give an example of its danger, in 2007 China launched a rocket at one of its own defunct satellites. The rocket hit its target, but in the process it created about 3000 pieces of debris that are now shooting through space and causing additional collisions to other space craft (information from a letter on One large chunk even came very close to hitting both the space shuttle Atlantis and the Hubble Space Telescope, which could have been devastating to the information they were giving to us from space.

There are other opinions on this issue. Some people do disagree and think it would be better if we don’t deal with issue. Which, in a way, I can understand. Due to our current situation in the United States, we just don't have the money for big projects like this at the moment. We do though have to remember if we ever plan on doing more space exploration, we have to get rid of our “bump in the road” in order for future explorations to be safe and successful. Not long ago, NASA’s Orbital Debris Program Office was monitoring about 19,000 pieces of space debris larger than 10 centimeters (according to an article by Andrew Parker). Something that big in mass is something quite dangerous that we should not ignore until the last minute, and if we do put it off, it could cause even more concern. Specifically if we continue putting more and more into space, without first getting rid of the debris, there is a higher possibility that we will add to the existing, and overwhelming, amount of space pollution already there.

I know that cleaning up this pollution and debris will cost an almost unthinkable amount of money, and it’s most likely why we have not dealt with this problem yet. We just can’t pay for the true costs of keeping space a safe and clean place for exploration at the moment, but the safety for space exploration is a crucial, and I believe, starting now, if we slowly put our money towards this goal, we will have less stress and won’t need to worry about it in the future. Are you willing to make the effort, not later, but now? I’ll let you decide.