08-20-99, 11:00 PM #1Mark JGuest
Is there any natural phenomenon that could be powerful enough to disrupt or destroy anything exposed to it in space (e.g. satellites, the space shuttle, or ISS)? Perhaps something equivalent to an astronomical EMP? Also, if such a phenomenon could occur, would the earth's magnetic field or atmosphere shield the surface from the effects?
Any pointers to information on the subject would be appreciated.
08-21-99, 09:27 AM #2
These are just some phenomena that I recall at the moment that could disrupt satellite communication etc etc...
1) Large solar flare activity can disrupt communication satellites. This happened recently (I believe the NASA website has some docs on it). The sun has a periodically changing activity (at the moment it's at its peak - or the peak has just passed). During peaking activity, loads of solar wind is released, and this disrupts communication. The earth's atmosphere doesn't stop these I think (since they are charged particles) but it probably isn't that harmfull since we're all still here
2) Gamma Ray Bursts (GRB) are a threat to all living beings close enough to such a GRB. If I am not mistaken, these GRB's are "hypernova's" (a supernova, but a lot more powerful) that put loads of gamma radiation out in space. This radiation can wipe out an entire side of a planet (the side of the planet facing the GRB). I have no idea what this does to satellites, but if such a GRB can knock out half a planet, I don't think satellites (or space shuttles, or ISS for that matter) are shielded enough to prevent damage.
The best thing you can become in life is yourself -- M. Eyskens.
08-23-99, 06:42 PM #3
Solar flares is the only thing that i can think of right now that could do some harm ( except maybe for meteors and such) The peak of the current period happens early 2000. A solar flare could become dangerous if it were big enough.. It COULD actually roast every living thing on this planet.. but the odds of that .. i would think is pretty marginal...at least thats what i hope.
"We didn't inherit this world from our parents, we are borrowing it from our children".
09-21-99, 07:37 PM #4
MAby, Im late, but nevermind.
Solar wind can disrupt comunications on low frq.
And as for g-rays, they are very powerfull. They are comminng even through Pb.But Earths atm. reduces them,...
09-24-99, 06:33 AM #5
Space junk is another growing problem. Even the smallest piece of material becomes potentially lethal when at 18,000 miles an hour. One of the space shuttle missions suffered a cracked windshield from such a collision. NASA later found out that it was caused by a fleck of paint.
At least one satellite has already been put out of action due to a collision with a piece of space junk.
[This message has been edited by Spadge (edited September 24, 1999).]
03-09-03, 12:29 AM #6
Astronomical Threats to Satellites
On May 10, 1999 a very powerful Gamma-ray burst, GRB 990510, blasted through the solar system from a direction near the South Celestial Pole. Shortly after the event (in 1-3 hours) the Solar wind (in the ecliptic) began decreasing in density, ultimately
dropping by more than 98% of its normal density. The density
decrease lasted for about two days. (Helium and more massive nuclei dropped to about 0.5% of their normal density.) The Solar wind speed dropped off by one half its normal speed over a period of about 12 hours.
I have no information as to damage to spacecraft or satellites, but it may be of interest that NASA waited six months to announce the Solar wind stoppage.
There may an unexpected biological effect involved as well.
(It was the biological event that triggered my search for
a solar wind problem in the first place.)
See GRB 990510 and a Solar Wind Problem
03-09-03, 02:03 AM #7
The weirdest stuff i know about is a particle made From strange quarks.... 'strange-quark nuggets' or strangelets.!
Strangelets were formed in the Big Bang. They are predicted to have many unusual properties, including a density about 10 trillion (10 million million) times greater than lead. Just a single pollen-sized fragment is believed to weigh several tons.
It would pass through normal matter but exert a huge gravitational energy. ( A small fleck of this would weigh many tonnes), ...like a hand granade ...
Two events may have been detected in the Antarctica in 1993? through the fact that it caused a mini-earthquake there , followed by a similar one in the indian ocean (as it exited a few seconds later)
The first in October when seismometers recorded a violent event in Antarctica that packed a punch of several thousand tons of TNT. The disturbance then ripped through Earth exiting through the floor of the Indian Ocean 26 seconds later - implying a speed of 900,000mph.
The second event in November started in the Pacific Ocean travelling through Earth to appear in Antarctica 19 seconds later.
The small size of strangelets means the blast is only big enough to have a very localised effect
However there may be thousands of these in our solar system...
Last edited by blobrana; 03-09-03 at 02:41 AM.
03-09-03, 03:35 PM #8
03-09-03, 04:06 PM #9
Solar flare do NOT come down through the atmosphere. Our sun would have to be going nova for us to get fried by a solar flare. When the particles of a solar flare hit the earth atmosphere they plasmaify the air: producing the northern lights. The stronger the solar flare the deeper the charged particles can travel through the earth’s magnetosphere and the low in latitude the lights can be seen.
03-09-03, 06:50 PM #10
Hehe , i remember that high energy cosmic particles passing through eye-balls of cosmonauts produce `flashes` , a cherenkov radiation effect...
i think the main danger caused by particles of a solar flare would be to expand/increase the Earth`s atmosphere...thus causing more drag...It could affect the orbiting lifetime of an orbiting satellite
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