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Q: Negative Results / Effects of Space Exploration ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Negative Results / Effects of Space Exploration
Category: Science > Astronomy
Asked by: vincentanton-ga
List Price: $3.50
Posted: 02 Jul 2002 08:09 PDT
Expires: 01 Aug 2002 08:09 PDT
Question ID: 35808
I need a list of between eight and ten (fairly specefic) negative
aspects or results of space exploration.  Such results could include
specefic environmental hazards, the exact cost, etc.
Subject: Re: Negative Results / Effects of Space Exploration
Answered By: fugitive-ga on 02 Jul 2002 09:31 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
vincentanton-ga, Feel free to ask for clarificaton and/or direction if
these 8 answers to your question are not what you're seeking.

First, all searches are courtesy of at:


When search terms are indicated, you should include all punctuation
exactly as listed.

Negative Aspects as the Results of Space Exploration

1. Falling Radioactive Satellites

Spy satellites are usually powered by radioactive decay. When they
fall, they can cause dire consequences

Search terms:	

	+"space pollution" +radioactive


	Wavelength 13 - the Spy that Fell to Earth

Additional search terms:

	"space debris"

2. Loss of Privacy

Satellites and satellite telecommunications are a technology which
comes of space exploration, and their advent has  resulted in a loss
of privacy. All of our messages now can be intercepted.

Search terms:

	+"spy satellites" +"lack of privacy"


	Cyber Warfare and Telecommunications Espionage

3. Spectacular Failures are Huge Money Wasters

Mars Observer fails in 1993 at a cost of 1 billion dollars. For

Search terms:

	+"mars polar lander" +budget


	Why Did Mars Polar Lander Fail?

4. Death

Manned space exploration has resulted in the deaths of a number of
highly skilled and talented individuals.

Jan. 27, 1967: Fire in an Apollo capsule kills astronauts Virgil I.
"Gus" Grissom, Edward H. White 2nd and Roger Chaffee during a launch
pad training exercise.

Jan. 28, 1986: Seven astronauts die when the shuttle Challenger
explodes 73 seconds after launch on what would have been the 25th
mission in the shuttle program.

Search terms:

	astronauts die


	Thirty Five Years in Space

5. Proliferation of mechanisms for killing lots of people

Exotic means for killing people are now possible, from directed energy
beams to "thunder rods" which when "tossed down from orbit, these long
and slender kinetic-energy devices use their own mass and very high
velocity to create a destructive effect. "

Search terms:

	"space weapons"


	Space Weapons for Earth Wars

6. Terrorism is Facilitated by the Global Positioning System (GPS), a
product of space exploration

Terrorists can disrupt the GPS, as well as use it for targeting (e.g.,
crashing airplanes in to skyscrapers).

Search terms:

	terrorism gps


	Report Cites Vulnerabilities of Global Navigation System by Mathew L.

The above article appeared in the New York Times on September 11,
2001.It was written December 10, 2001

	United States of America vs. ZACARIAS MOUSSAOUI

"77. On or about August 22, 2001, in Miami, Florida, Ziad Jarrah (#93)
purchased an antenna for a Global Positioning System ("GPS"), other
GPS related equipment, and schematics for 757 cockpit instrument
diagrams. (GPS allows an individual to navigate to a position using
coordinates pre-programmed into the GPS unit.)"

7. Small possibility that we are advertising our existence to warlike
aliens who will attack us

Search terms:

	+"extraterrestrial intelligence" +"here we are"  +war

"The message was in the form of a television picture coded in binary
form along the lines proposed by Bernard Oliver and Frank Drake as a
likely mode of interstellar attention-getting. What Sir Martin may not
have realized was that the target stars were so distant that the
"message" would not reach them for 24,000 years and by then would be
so weak that interception was unlikely. It was not a really serious
attempt at interstellar communication. Nevertheless Sir Martin urged
that no attempt at direct contact be made without international
agreement-possibly through the International Astronomical Union. In
urging I.A.U. action he said there was no assurance "they" would be
friendly. They might look upon the earth as a new field for
colonization and exploitation. "

From ...


	What if we succeed? by Walter Sullivan

8. Space Exploration Can Cause Corporate Corruption

Since it takes a large government bureacracy to successfully engage in
space exploration, corruption is inevitable.


	"space exploration" corruption contractors


	The Privatization of NASA: a Risky Business (Rought Draft)


Request for Answer Clarification by vincentanton-ga on 02 Jul 2002 14:22 PDT
Just one quick clarification:  How much (if any) of the ozone has been
destroyed because of space shuttle launches?

Clarification of Answer by fugitive-ga on 02 Jul 2002 20:56 PDT

Here's a response to your request for clarification, specifically, the
effect on space flights on the earth's ozone layer.

According to:

     Depletion Causes

"Each shuttle launch produces about 68 tons of HCl, most of that
released in the troposphere. Ten launches per year would amount to
less than 0.06% of the yearly chlorofluorcarbons released which was
1.2 million tons per year in the 1980's."

The entire article basically points out that all other forms of
chlorofluorcarbon production (including natural causes, such as
volcanoes) far outstrip any contribution by space launches. It is
interesting that there is an effect, just a negligible one.

     Ozone Depletion FAQ

Also discussing this issue:

     Satellites and the Atmosphere

"The ozone layer is affected by a particular kind of air pollution
acts as a catalyst to break down ozone.  A craft entering or leaving
could pollute the atmosphere as it moves through it, but this would
make a
very, very tiny contribution compared to the major causes of ozone

You can find out more sites on the web by searching
with the following terms (including all punctuation, such as quotation

     "causes of ozone depletion" +"launches"

Thanks for asking a fascinating question. I must confess that my
favority "negative aspect" of space exploration is the potential for
alien invasions!

vincentanton-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
I am very impressed with the answer and the speed at which I received
it!  I had no idea of all of the negative ramifications of space
travel.  I did have one question:  how much of the ozone has been
depleted (if any) from space flights?

Subject: Re: Negative Results / Effects of Space Exploration
From: davidsar-ga on 02 Jul 2002 13:26 PDT
There are also more than 100,000 sizable pieces of orbiting "space
junk" that can collide with manned or unmanned spacecraft, fall back
to earth, or simply pollute the environment of outer space.  There's a
cool picture/map of junk in orbit (and sorry for the oversized link)
Subject: Re: Negative Results / Effects of Space Exploration
From: javit-ga on 28 Oct 2002 15:48 PST
Please consider this when you say "falling of readioactive

First of all, most satellites that orbit the earth use the
photovoltaics method which converts light to electricity by using
solar arrays as means of 'collecting' light.
This method is not the most appropriate method for deep-space or solar
system exploration probes as the spacecraft would need much larger
solar arrays to deliver the same power at that distance from the Sun.
Therefore, mostly for inter-planetary missions another method is used:
Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs). They convert the heat
from naturally decaying plutionum(PU-238) into electricity. THESE DO
NOT USE FUSION OR FISSION! However, this does not mean that RTGs
aren't dangerous. Infact, if released into the atmosphere, it may
cause serious hazards. Therefore, this issue is taken VERY seriously
by space agencies (at least NASA). As discussed in "Basics of Space
Flight" article in JPL's website:

"Plutonium, like all radioactive materials and many non-radioactive
materials, can be a health hazard under certain circumstances and in
sufficient quantity. RTGs are designed, therefore, with the goal of
surviving credible launch accident environments without releasing
plutonium. The safety design features of RTGs are tested by the US
Department of Energy to verify the survival capabilities of the
Presidential approval is required for the launch of RTGs. Prior to the
launch of a spacecraft carrying an RTG a rigorous safety analysis and
review is performed by the Department of Energy, and the results of
that analysis are evaluated by an independent panel of experts. These
analyses and reviews are used by the Office of Science and Technology
Policy (OSTP) in the White House to evaluate the overall risk
presented by the mission."

Hope this helps.

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