Monday, July 23, 2007

Heads Up

AP (07.23.07):
"Two astronauts ventured outside the international space station Monday to rid it of some large pieces of junk.

NASA spacewalker Clayton Anderson, a sportsman who enjoys officiating basketball back on Earth, had the chore of heaving a 1,400-pound, refrigerator-size ammonia tank overboard."

Astronauts Toss Station's Space Junk

They sent the tank up in in 2001 "to provide spare coolant in case of a leak", but they never needed it, and now the thing "has exceeded its expected lifetime."

"NASA normally tries to avoid adding to the orbiting junkyard, but officials felt they had no choice in this case. The equipment has to be moved, and because of a looming 2010 deadline for ending all shuttle flights, NASA does not have room on its remaining missions to return the tank to Earth.

NASA figures the thing will "orbit for 10 or 11 months before re-entering the atmosphere and burning up."

"While small chunks are expected to survive next year's fall and make it Earth, officials hope those chunks will hit the ocean, NASA officials said."

If not, well what the hell.



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