ACCORDING to a news report this week Space debris is becoming a major problem. It seems that there are thousands of objects ranging for abandoned space craft to hand tools such as hammers and spanners which fell from the grasp on astronauts as they maintained their space crafts travelling at high speed around the universe. Estimates of 8000 tonnes of this redundant material is now causing concern as any collision by these objects with a live craft could have disastrous results.
The time has come then for ‘rubbish collecting satellites’ with robotic arms to sweep all offending objects into a net and bring them into the earth’s atmosphere where according to the report they would be burnt up and destroyed by the force of re-entry. I must admit that it seems like space science fiction to me, then again who’d have through that just 60 years following the launch of the first ‘Sputnik’ satellite there would be around two thousand active spacecraft circulating in space.
Scientists are now looking to ensure that future craft are easily disposable but in the meantime the space ‘Hoover’ is on its way – the mind boggles!
Space pollution can then be easily equated with reports of air and sea pollution which have all been in the news recently. To deny that the problem does not exist defies most scientific data and puts future generation at serious risk. It may well be that the climatic changes we often experience these days are beyond anything we can control and have to do with natural global change.
On the other hand most experts agree that our disregard for the good of the environment is causing great damage. Increased emissions are destroying natural defenses and we hear again and again of melting glaciers and deteriorating air quality which, if trends continue will increase rapidly if no action is taken. The natural order is under attack through the excesses of our lifestyles and there seems to be little appetite to deal with these concerns which increase year by year.
We do then have a responsibility in ensuring that we preserve and care for this planet earth. The Bible speaks of us being ‘stewards’ for the time we are here and that means we have that responsibility given to us by God to preserve his creation be that on land sea, air and now it seems the outer limits of space itself. In this lies our commitment to modify our lifestyles to ensure, as one environmentalist said recently that we leave only footprints in the sand and a legacy of hope and not disaster for those who follow us.