Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Orbiting Spatula

With the recent collision of a defunct Russian military satellite and an American communication satellite used by the pentagon which couldn't possibly have been intentional, I started looking for other possible space debris that may pose a potential hazard... WIRED beat me to it ... those bastards!!!

Lost in Space: 8 Weird Pieces of Space Junk
By Clara Moskowitz February 13, 2009 | 7:58:29 PMCategories: Astronomy, Space

Humans have ventured into space over the last 50 years, and all manner of junk has been left behind. From tiny bolts to whole space stations, people have discarded lots of stuff up there. Much of it eventually dies a fiery death as it falls through Earth's atmosphere, but some larger debris poses risks for astronauts and spacecraft that could collide with it. Here are some of the quirkier items left in space:

1. Spatula
While spreading some goo as a test of heat-shield repair materials, spacewalking astronaut Piers Sellers accidentally lost a spatula he had been using. The mishap took place during the space shuttle Discovery's 2006 STS-121 flight to the International Space Station, on a mission to test new safety techniques after the 2003 Columbia disaster. "That was my favorite spatch," Sellers reportedly said. "Don’t tell the other spatulas."

2. Tool bag
Astronaut Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper lost her grip on a tool bag while doing a spacewalk in November 2008 to try to repair a jammed gear on a space-station solar panel. The 30-pound bag, filled with grease guns, a scraper tool and a couple of bags for debris, cost about $100,000. Amateur astronomers spotted subsequently spotted the bag in orbit, and North Americans can check to see if the tool bag is in their slice of the sky with Spaceweather.com's satellite tracker. Watch the bag float away below.

Click on the title for the rest...

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