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NASA Space

Why NASA Launched Millions of Tiny Copper Wires In Orbit 86

Posted by samzenpus
from the up-up-and-away dept.
coondoggie writes "Imagine 500 million short copper wires — no longer than the tip of your index finger — floating in space creating what amounts to an antenna belt that could be used to send messages and conduct other space communications research. That would describe the 1960s era Project Space Needles or Project West Ford as it was sometimes called that NASA and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last undertook in 1963 which saw the blasting of millions of those copper hairs into space. NASA's Orbital Debris Program Office this month did a 'Where are they now' look at those copper wires and said that after 50 years, some of them indeed still make up a small amount of orbital debris."
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Why NASA Launched Millions of Tiny Copper Wires In Orbit

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    • Re:dup (Score:4, Informative)

      by worf_mo (193770) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @03:17AM (#45288699)

      Today must be Alzheimer's Day, the previous story was a dupe, too.

    • by geogob (569250)

      Yes! This post regarding an article published yesterday, citing a NASA report from octobre 2013, most totally be a dup from august 2013.

      If you are so clever, I bet you are clever enough not to read something that doesn't fit your personal interests or something you've already read about, maybe in some other context. But maybe you should read this article and the report cited to see how far this is from a dup.

      But I suggest you skip the Journalistic touch and jump direct to the NASA report. I found it quite i

      • Yes, it's totally a dupe from August 13 - because the October report contains nothing substantially new. Project West Ford hits the Slashdot front pages about three or four times a year, with nothing new each time.

    • So, NASA spends millions every year monitoring debris (more commonly knows as space crap) and are worried that even a flake of paint can damage a space station because of its speed, and they deliberately put debris (crap) into space. Well done NASA.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Taco Cowboy (5327)

        So, NASA spends millions every year monitoring debris (more commonly knows as space crap) and are worried that even a flake of paint can damage a space station because of its speed, and they deliberately put debris (crap) into space. Well done NASA.

        Do what I say not what I do.

        • by LWATCDR (28044)

          "Do what I say not what I do."
          More like don't make the mistakes I did... This was in 1961.

      • Re:More junk. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tinkerton (199273) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @05:41AM (#45288989)

        and they deliberately put debris (crap) into space

        Past tense. They put the copper in space 50 years ago.There's nothing hypocritical about it. The situation has changed. Attitudes have cahnged

        • by Anonymous Coward

          But by all means, let's still rag on the Chinese space program for polluting our orbits. Only we should be able to do that.

          • by khallow (566160)

            But by all means, let's still rag on the Chinese space program for polluting our orbits.

            Once again, the moral equivalence excuse gets trotted out. Let's note the obvious differences. First, our knowledge of the danger of space debris has advanced considerably in the last 50 years. The Chinese anti-satellite weapon test in question was done only six years ago and, unlike a later US anti-satellite test the next year, was done at an altitude guaranteed to generate a lot of long term orbital debris. They have no excuse for why they endangered everyone else's property in orbit.

            Second, it was a t

            • by mwu (784824)
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Chinese_anti-satellite_missile_test [wikipedia.org] Debris aside (sorry for the pun), the move by the Chinese was strategically aimed at the US military space program and it basically forestalled the US from any further attempts on the militarisation of space. Quote: "In January 2001, a (US) congressionally mandated space commission headed by Donald Rumsfeld recommended that “the U.S. government should vigorously pursue the capabilities called for in the National Space Policy to e
        • Have the altitudes changed though?

        • Yes, but we look at the actions of 50 years ago with the attitudes of today. Why do you think modern people dismiss Marilyn Monroe with phrases like "She didn't work out, look at her stomach, nothing but flab there, where are the six-pack abs?"
          • by tinkerton (199273)

            Because they're trying to fool the competition. It won't help though , she's dead innit.

            Anyway, NASA is also allowed to look at their faraway past with the attitudes of today without being hypocrites.

      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        That was in 1961.... Back when people tested hydrogen bombs on the surface of the earth, in space, and under water, drove cars that had no real emission controls, and dumped chemicals into the water without restriction. AKA we have learned better since then....

        • by rubycodez (864176)

          no, we pollute more now, including radioacitve pollution. your rosey view of the world is cute though

          • by LWATCDR (28044)

            Sources? I would say that you are massively incorrect on that.
            Do you have sources outside of CO2 and of course I am talking about the US and per capita.

          • I don't know where you live, but in the US your comment would be simply wrong.

            Having grown up in the LA basin in the 70's, and going back there on a regular basis now, I can safely say that there is significantly less air pollution now than there was then. Open dumping of toxic chemicals in places like the Stringfellow Acid Pits (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stringfellow_Acid_Pits) is no longer tolerated. Rivers are no longer used as open cesspools or convenient dumps for industrial chemical processes. L

          • by LurkerXXX (667952)

            No we don't. Pollution used to be much worse. The Cuyahoga river hasn't caught fire in decades. Back in the 60's, pollution like that was rampant.

            The EPA was created in 1970 by Richard Nixon, and things have improved much since. Yes, before Reagan, the Republican party actually had pretty thoughtful stances on many topics, hard as that may be to believe.

            • by rubycodez (864176)

              yes the human race does. most the human race does not live in the USA

              the USA is 6.6% of the planet's land mass, and 4.5% of the population.

              • by LurkerXXX (667952)

                And ~20% of the world's energy.

                But I was replying on a U.S. based site, to an article about a U.S. based agency.

                • by rubycodez (864176)

                  if we only talk about USA, what happens when we include our share of China's pollution that comes from making the exports to USA?

    • Re:dup (Score:4, Interesting)

      by gatzke (2977) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @04:42AM (#45288847) Homepage Journal

      Back in the day, a story wasn't a story until it hit slashdot at least three times, a trupe.

      I still remember seeing a story duped on the front page just a couple of posts between the two, like the "editors" didn't even look at the site.

      • by Sockatume (732728)

        In my day, dupes happened within hours of the original posting, not months. Boo.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Joce640k (829181)

        Back in the day, a story wasn't a story until it hit slashdot at least three times, a trupe.

        Surely it's a "tripe"...

      • by MiniMike (234881)

        This will continue until there is a ring of dupes that circles the Earth...

  • by Freshly Exhumed (105597) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @03:57AM (#45288757) Homepage

    The RAF screwed up Nazi radar with "Window", which is the precursor of the NASA Project West Ford:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Window_(codename) [wikipedia.org]

  • very exact measurement ... NOT!

    • 1.8 cm x 0.00178cm

      Convert to fractions of a whatever if you so care...
    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Well, it's not meant to be exact, is it? Unless you were planning on building your own device on the basis of a Slashdot summary?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I've been reading the news and i just want to know how many football fields is that?

      Or how many can I put inside a football stadium?

      Failing that, I would like to know if you place them end to end , how many times will it encircle the earth?

      • by Thanshin (1188877)

        I've been reading the news and i just want to know how many football fields is that?

        Or how many can I put inside a football stadium?

        As many as ping pong balls you can fit inside the Library of Congress.

        Failing that, I would like to know if you place them end to end , how many times will it encircle the earth?

        Exactly once. Any more than that and you wouldn't be placing them end to end but parallel to each other.

    • by MiniMike (234881)

      very exact measurement ... NOT!

      You're right, how about 1.00 index finger tips?

    • by isorox (205688)

      very exact measurement ... NOT!

      It's 1 microfootballfield, or 1/700th of a London bus.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    all those idiots stealing copper will try to go after these.

  • Plus it attracted much unwanted attention from the copper-blooded species of the planet Chia 357.

  • Everybody knows it was an attempt to recreate the energy pyramids written about in http://www.amazon.com/Siva-Formerly-Millennium-Lewis-Richmond/dp/0441768369/ [amazon.com] in 1955.

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