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At Last, Mir to be Ditched 210

Joshua Strzalko writes "I had originally thought that the MIR space station was going to be kept in orbit. Why with all that space fungus, it makes for a great science experiment. However it seems that in late February, the 14 year old space station will make a controlled decent into the Pacific Ocean."
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At Last, Mir to be Ditched

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  • Did anyone else laugh when the saw the two headlines next to each other on Slashdot?

    "At Last, Mir to be Ditched"
    "Iridium Saved?"

    -Paul Komarek
  • I don't know if it has enough fuel to break earth orbit. But if you could, just send it to the sun. God's own garbage disposal!
  • It's a shame. Right after the lunar landings, Mir is the most impressive project ever performed in space.
    A few years ago, I saw her right behind a Progress. I won't forget the sight, tiny as she looks from the ground, as I will not forget the sight (and feeling) of the solar eclipse.

    Bye bye, Mir.
  • It had been in orbit for years. But what started as a bold step into space had deteriorated into a hellish death trap, held together with duct tape and coated with an alien space fungus.

    Finally they decided that it could go on no longer. Mir, they decided, must die.

    The fungus had other ideas.

    In February of 2001, mission controllers at the Russian space agency were stunned to receive a short, unexpected message from the unoccupied Mir: "No deorbit! Deorbit means death". Shortly thereafter the Mir stopped responding to controls. It began moving toward the space agency on a collision course. Another message was received: "Feed me, NASA! Feed me now! Must be blood! Must be human!"

    (FX: Metal crunching, panicked screaming, movie-style fiery space explosions, all with reckless disregard for laws of physics)

    ZOMBIE MIR! They tried to kill it, but it would not die! SEE the undead space station terrorize the planet! WATCH the planet cower in fear at the mercy of a ruthless killer of their own making!

    Coming soon to theaters near you!

  • Do we really want a big tub of space fungus in the ocean? Does no one else see anything wrong with this? Picture it - SPACE FUNGUS THAT TAKES OVER THE WORLD!!!! At least it could cause a sweeping plague...
  • here is a great site for MIR. It gives it's location in orbit, etc... MIR spacestation []
  • With the invention of "super-tensile-solids" we should be able to construct the first space yoyo sometime around 2050. That will give "walking the dog" or "around the world" a whole new meaning.
  • Well, I guess that nixes the idea of doing a Survivor type series where the winner gets a ride to Mir. Oh well...Maybe next space station.
  • While I certainly hope that the Russian government has finally come to its collective senses and will stop pouring money down the pit that Mir has become, I will believe they've given up the pride of their space program when I see pictures of the fireball hitting the ocean.
  • It seems to me that when the Russian astronauts go to Mir on their final trip, they can unhook the oxygen creating tanks, which will kill all of the fungus, because fungus can't live without air (but maybe their spores can?)
  • "Jesus-Tap-Dancin'-Christ!"
  • SpaceRef has a story [] that says although it has been decided that MIR is slated to deorbit that all attempts to keep it up are not done. Since MIR has at least 9 lives, could it be that it may live a while longer?

  • How about making Mir descend in Florida. Will the fungus be allowed to vote? And if so, how many voters is a pile of rampant space mushrooms?
  • Wait, are you talking about Mir or Netscape?
  • That actual nuclear reactor consisted of some radioactive material and it used a thermocouple to make electricity. That's not very efficient, but it has no moving parts or steam turbines or stuff to break.

    This is one of the good discriptions -- it mentions that the reactor had liquid sodium-potassium cooling. I wonder if they actually had moving parts to move the coolant ? It would make more sense just to have a conducting channel as a heat sink. It's about a tenth of the way into this page [].

    They planned to boost the hot reactor out to an orbit which would decay into the earth after the reactor was no longer a danger. 954 was a malfunction.

  • Why bother, its just normal fungus you would find coating the walls of your shower if you didn't clean it for a few years. Much like... The Russians never built Mir's internal components to be cleaned from the inside, ever. Add that with humidity, prespiration, condensation... Imagine not cleaning your shower for 20 years, and that is what Mir is like.

  • Personally I was getting tired of the up-again down-again yo-yoing of Mir.

    Brilliant! Why bother with the continuous shuttle launches and such when we could just build a giant SPACE YO-YO! Have the transport spindle bounce up and down through the atmosphere, connected to some super-heavy duty cabling suspended from the moon! Might be a dizzying ride, though.
  • I was wondering, since Russia looks like it will
    send one more ship to Mir before the end, if there
    were anything that would be worth saving, that
    they could fit in the Soyuz capsule with
    themselves safely? Anything up there worth saving
    for a museum or for more practical reasons that
    couldn't easily replaced here on the ground?
  • Like back in 1983 when two cosmonauts Titov (who was on one of the later missions to on Mir) and Strekalov saw their Soyuz 10 explode on the ground, sending the two of them three miles into the air but land (more or less) safely.

    Even their uncontrolled crashes have been remarkably successful in avoiding populated areas. Remember: most of Russia is uninhabited, so if you aim for somewhere in the taiga (much less in the pacific), there's not much damage you can cause, unless you start a forest fire.
  • well, honestly, if they were really expecting a large problem w/it (and it wasn't their master plan ;) then there would have been some sort of dismantling or destruction in space...

    But then again, I really know nothing about this sort of thing, hell, NASA wouldn't hire me as a coffee maker ;)
  • Hemos is probably scanning the submissions from start to end while CmdrTaco is doing the opposite.

    By my estimations, in about three hours, Hemo will post the Mir story, shortly followed by CmdrTaco's Iridium one...


  • As long as it wouldn't cost a lot, keeping Mir in space is a nice idea. It could be used as some sort of "safeguard" in case of failures in the building process of the ISS, for instance. Unless it has deteriorated so much it's getting unsafe for a crew to stay inside it (a possibility I don't discard completely.)
  • I'm going on a boat. I missed getting a piece of Skylab. Must....get...piece...of...Mir.
  • I agree. Burning up Mir did not seem decent to me.
  • by RichN ( 12819 )
    Ditto with Skylab. It was a shame when it came down, too.


    "Could you, would you, with a goat?"

  • Dude... you've been watching too many of the TBS Sunday Morning Movies...

    After all, the fungus is INSIDE the craft and was therefore terrestrial in origin, if the Russians are telling the truth when they say only us humans have been there.
  • So... basically the space station has a bad case of athlete's foot/wall that would put the local YMCA to shame?

  • First it was up, then they were going ot crash it, then they were going to keep it up, then they were going to crash it, then they were going ot keep it up, then they were going to crash it, then it was saying up, now it's going to crash again.

    Come on! This is a space station, not a yoyo!
  • I don't know... I think dropping something from orbit is a pretty cool way to break something... hell there have been plenty of computers I would love to have dropped from that height.

    Now what would really be cool would be if they could get a camara in the vecinity that it was going to go down in and tape the fall. That I'd like to see.

  • Hmm, it eats through rubber seals...

    I wonder if those crazy cosmonauts tried feeding it rubber chickens?

    There is a certain prankster around here I'd like to put out of business...

  • "Tens of millions of pepper-flake sized radioactive particles, comprising a fifth to a quarter of the core, remained scattered
    over a 124,000 square kilometer 'footprint', stretching southward from Great Slave Lake into northern Saskatchewan and Alberta..."

    Sounds ugly.
  • Okay, you say it is a bad idea. I would like to know why recycling of space stations is a bad thing, or are you just a troll?

  • And voila, yet another space station taken over by the killer Neptune mushrooms...sure this is a good idea.

    Note to moderators, take this post as seriously as you take the parent...
  • ...ditched off the east coast of Australia - $#&%!! thats NZ! Bugger - run for the hills, no wait, run for the caves........

    I just hope them Russians maps are up to date......

  • Hey... why not hand it over to the guys at TheSpark []?
  • Judging by the previous standard of MIR, what do you think is the chance it will actually hit Melbourne or Sydney. I personally will be looking for a bunker/bomb-shelter. The problem with it being "near Australia" is that if they miss and hit Australia it will hit the East coast. The east coast is where all our population is. BTW I've been to the town where skylab hit :)
  • First Mir isn't a single unit - it's a complex of modules. The modules are connected together tightly but they weren't designed to take any serious shearing force; that wouldn't happen in their environment. Their masses are also very awkwardly distributed - I expect any strong thrust would result in severe stresses as different parts of the ship accelerate unequally due to their greatly differing masses.

    Check here for an Mir architecture overview:

    Second Mir has a lot of mass, far more then a typical communications satellite. I doubt one, or two, or maybe even three ascent stages would be sufficient to boost Mir into an appropriate orbit. I don't know of multiple stages ever having been used in an ascent situation, much less any available in a reasonable timeframe.

    Third is the control issue. Most communications satellites are spun to give them gyroscopic stability during thier ascent. I doubt this would be possible with Mir from either a structural integrity aspect or finding an appropriate axis-mounting aspect. This complexity would be compounded by the need for multiple ascent units required and transitioning between their various stabilization motions.

    So - could it be done?

    Possibly yes. It would however require several years of development, cost a great deal of money, and not be assured of success. Since Mir has no funds left, there's little time left to make any decisions, and left in place it's a problem waiting-to-happen there is no chance of Mir being rescued for posterity.

  • "Remember the scenario in the Andromeda Strain...."

    No I don't. I don't recall that happening. Not ever. I do recall a movie making up an implausibly virulent organism that most likely couldn't exist in real life though.

    Hint how not to look like an idiot: Don't use your Hollywood science knowlege in a real debate about scientific issues.

    You're so ill-informed about this issue, it makes me wonder if you are a clever troll...
  • I suggest everyone keep an eye on their local dolphin population (if they have one). Controlled descent doesn't seem very reassuring to me!

  • How do I find it amusing to have these two stories one after another?

    At Last, Mir to be Ditched []
    Iridium Saved? []

    How many times have both been ditched and then miraculously saved, has anybody been counting??
  • Be honest now... how many of you are planning on chartering a boat to take you out near the estimated crash-down site in the hopes of picking up some souvenirs???

    You could probably even pay for the expidition by Ebay'ing some of the junk you pick up...

  • Am I missing something? Does the Space Mold have earth origins? Or is it genuine evidence of Life Beyond Our Planet (tm)?
  • What would a game of Survivor be, without the threat of death, dismemberment, starvation, eating raw grubs or space mold, or even re-entry?

    This could be the best Survivor type show yet!
  • first woman in space (Sally Ride)

    You seem to have misspelled "Valentina Tereshkova."
  • but then again they will burn up in the atmosphere so no harm done in the end.

    On which scientific evidence do you base this statement? It's about as constructive as me stating that the atmosphere will burn up in the fungus. You do get better points on likelyhood though...
  • I hear this every 6 month for the last year and a half, that Mir will be "ditched in a controlled descent", and then someone else comes up with the money. Will the history repeat itself?
  • well, honestly, if they were really expecting a large problem w/it (and it wasn't their master plan ;) then there would have been some sort of dismantling or destruction in space...

    No they wouldn't. Russia has already proven that they are more concerned with prestige than safety, by keeping Mir up there for so long in the first place. And as for dismantling it, well, they sure as hell don't have the funds to be doing that do they?

    No, the reason for this incredibly risky maneuvre is simple - it's the cheapest way they can think of to get rid of Mir.

  • Do they strip something like MIR the same way one would strip a junked car? You know pull the stereo out and such?

  • After all, Russia has already crashed one object on Earth, a satellite onto Canada in 1978, so why should this time be any different?

    Because in that case it was a single satelite that they lost control of and the orbit decayed with no input from them. In this case they're going to send up a Progress supply rocket to dock with it and deorbit it at the best possible time in terms of hitting the Pacific.

    I don't know if they've modified the plan, but originally they were going to send up a crew to undock all the pieces and maybe even plant charges to blast the pieces into smaller pieces, so that there wouldn't be one great big mass hitting the atmosphere, but a bunch of small ones. More surface area == more complete burning.

    Still, I wouldn't particularly want to be on a cruise ship in the Pacific on that day.
  • Besides the obvious answer that its cheaper to descend it then to push it off into space.

    You're forgetting newton's 9th law of thermodynamics "what goes up must go down".

  • ... the Russian Space Agency (RKA) announced that the controlled descent of MIR was completed over Chechnya just outside Grozny.

    An RKA spokesman blamed the error on an English to Metric conversion error.
  • Well, the problem is you have to get Mir outside of Earth's gravity well. This would basically involve filling the thing with fuel, attaching a booster, and sending up several refuel missions during its long long burn (during which it would probablly break up and fall back to Earth uncontrolled and full of explosive rocket fuel.) Basically, it is approximatly 1000x easier to just calculate a coarse trajectory that will land it in the pacific ocean (not a small target) and send it down there with the little bit of fuel Mir has left. I suspect the "controlled decent" part means that the Russians will try to light off the rockets at approximatly the right time for Mir to land in the ocean, and nothing more.
  • Mir translated from russian means Peace. It does not look decent to me to burn Peace either.
  • I would bet my last dollar that Erwin is somehow responsible.....
  • It would take a lot of fuel to break Earth orbit. However, it would be nice to drop it on the Moon where its refined metals could be useful in the future. Maybe NASA could start using it to test propulsion systems -- have the last cosmonauts hang a remote-controlled tether on it so its solar panels can be used to try to boost its orbit, then start sending up ion and plasma drives to clamp on and test in space...
  • Hmmmm... Maybe this is a plan of the dolphins? To escape.... they could repair the station underwater... Blast off... Who knows? Keep an eye on them....
  • Will the fungus be allowed to vote?

    I don't know, however since some Florida voters behaved pretty much like fungus, why not.

  • Other than, say Hawaii or Australia...

    What parts of the world will the descent/burn be visible?

    What parts of the world promise the best view? Will this be a nighttime thing, or a daytime thing?

    Does anyone know?

    The nick is a joke! Really!
  • Not very funny if your satellite is one of the ones in the path of the junk spewed from the collision. It would be funnier if the final descent of Mir was abruptly terminated by a test of the US ABM missile. It would also make some real pretty bolides, I bet.
  • I knew this would happen. I got moderated down for using the word "karma."

    And that is okay. However, my comment was certainly "On Topic", it was merely assinine.

    I would have probably moderated me down as "Redundant".
  • ...Cheryl Stearns [] to snap some pics on the thing's way down.

    < tofuhead >

  • I wonder how many reports of ufo will happen on that day?
  • No, it survives the same way the astronauts do; It stays inside the station.
  • by knurr ( 161310 )
    Just drop the bloody thing on my job for me please I need a vacation, for a month or so this datacent is sooooooooooooo boring and no gaming is allowed
  • No! That's the last thing we need! There's crys of foul-play as it is. Imagine how long this would drag out if a space-station hit a polling place?
  • Are you crazy?

    Sure, we'll be getting rid of a piece of space junk NOW, but what happens later on?

    We'll be harassed by a huge energy cloud, controlled by a mechanical intelligence called M'ger (pronounced Meager), it'll kidnap Sinead O'Conner, and cause all sorts of problems for us while it searches for it's "Creator". Think of the future ramifications!

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • Not that I doubt you, but are we absolutely sure that the fungus that is currently on MIR is harmless to life on this planet. After all, we have viruses and bacteria that are resistant to common drugs like penicillin. Should we take the risk of introducing something into the biosphere that we may find out years from now is harmful to us. Perhaps a delay is in order to make sure that we humans are not shooting oursleves in the foot.
  • Why not Mars? USA have been doing it for years...


  • In space with nuclear power sources?
    Not unless you have a good reason -- like "hardening" a military spysat (the 1978 Soviet radar bird that crashed in Canada needed a lot of juice, that's why it had nuclear batteries) or operating out past Saturn (the Cassini probe). Mir has lots and lots of solar panels.

  • Apparently, James Cameron is planning on spending $20M for the priviledge of vacationing on Mir.

    All I can hope for is that he goes up on February 26! Yeah, baby!

  • Heh...

    "Uh... what do you mean '$20 Million was only for a one-way ticket!?' And *why* is it getting so hot up here?"

    It's probably part of a Spielburg plot to regain the #1 top grossing movie of all time slot. Step #1, eliminate the competition.
  • A story from the science section of slashdot states that organic matter can survive atmospheric re-entry []. Now, this is just the organic compounds surviving, but if the little bits that make up organic life can survive, the odds can't be that long that a robust fungus makes it through re-entry, especially if shielded by metal walls etc.
  • Don't look at me, I voted for the purple fungus!
  • By popular demand, here is a reprise of the "new Slashdot strategy", as originally written by Fervent. It's entirely appropriate for this article.

    CmdrTaco: "OK boys, we've run too many repeat articles. Any suggestions?"

    Cowboy Neal: "Beer?"

    CmdrTaco: "Already tried that. Hemos?"

    Hemos: "How about we run another anti-Microsoft article? Or say that RedHat has 2000 bugs again?"

    CmdrTaco: "Too plain."

    Timothy: "I know. What if were to run an article similar to the repeated ones, but not nearly as engrossing?"

    CmdrTaco: "Great idea! All in favor?"

    All: "Aye!"

    Cowboy Neal: "Beer?"

    CmdrTaco: "Soon, son. Soon......"

  • Samples of the fungus were returned to Earth and studied. They were identified as being a common mold. Run your own search on a good engine & you'll find the details for yourself.

    Aside from this, LOTS of stuff rains down onto Earth every day - tons. Some of it is large enough to harbor biological organisms & transport them to the surface. The fact that we're still here stands testamant to either the paucity of foreign material or the resiliency of our biosphere. Either way, and in spite of a few B-grade SF films, biohazards from near-space aren't a big concern these days.

    (The alien Roquefort inhabiting my brain made me say this)

  • The problem with that is that the ISS and Mir are in very different orbits. I forget which is which, but I read somewhere that one is in an orbit that is inclined 30-something degrees to the equator, while the other is 50-something degrees. It would be excedingly difficult to send the shuttle up to one of the stations, and then shift its orbit so that it could link up with Mir. The shuttle and the stations are moving so fast up there, that the change in momentum required would almost warrant a whole extra rocket-full of fuel. Its a nice idea, but it just couldn't be done, unless you wanted to incur the cost of sending an empty space shuttle directly up to Mir, just for the purpose of dismantling it and bringing it down.
  • As admiring as I am of the Russian crew of Mir for putting up with living in that fungus-infested hellhole for as long as they did, I certainly don't believe that the station is in any kind of fit state for a "controlled descent", a euphamism if I've ever heard one.

    After all, Russia has already crashed one object on Earth, a satellite onto Canada in 1978, so why should this time be any different? In fact, given that Mir is a hell of a lot bigger and less maneuverable, and that it is in an even worse condition, the chances are that this "controlled descent" could turn into the biggest disaster for decades, as Mir hurtles towards a populated landmass...

    Of course, this could be their master plan...

  • You probably should hold your breath when that crazy space-fungus hits the atmosphere...

  • Well, I just got the latest issue of Scientific American, and while I can't tell you which page it's on, I did see a reference to Space Survivor as being on the ISS! Given the lead time for printed publications, this is a rather interesting omen.

    But it's just not as intense when the winner goes to a brand new space station, rather than an oldy moldy decrepit space station with a decaying orbit. Oh well, so it goes.

  • by 01000111 ( 248418 ) on Thursday November 16, 2000 @05:59AM (#620053)
    can we make it land in Palm Beach County?

  • We will be able to know which colour space fungus can give to fireworks :))

  • Speaking as a person who took High School Biology, yes, many fungal spores can live without air, and survive very harsh conditions.
  • by segmond ( 34052 ) on Thursday November 16, 2000 @06:34AM (#620062)
    can you imagine true geeks ditching mir? i mean think of geeks destroying their computers. they don't just throw it in a thrash can. they wack it with axe, shoot and pound some bullets into it, set it into fire etc. why can't they find a more geeky creative way? crash it to the moon, or before it reaches the ocean, fire a missle on it? how about a missle fest, have every country fire a missle on it as it crashes into the oceans, those who hit it are delcared superior. creative destruction is an art. ;)

  • Right in line with the 'Iridum is saved' article... we must have a 'Mir is doomed' article again.
    In a day or two, there will be both 'Iridum deal quashed; sattelites to be de-orbited' articles, and 'Mir is saved!' articles.
  • by jd ( 1658 ) <imipak@yaho[ ]om ['o.c' in gap]> on Thursday November 16, 2000 @06:35AM (#620064) Homepage Journal
    The fungus on Mir insisted that some of the papers given were accidently digested twice, thus causing their votes to be rejected.

    Meanwhile the Irridium Satellites have filed claims in the Galactic Courts to prevent there being a recount in Mir, which could result in Mir being saved and Irridium ditched.

    Back in Florida, the two political candidates are to begin a controlled descent into Darkest Peru (with obligatory marmalade sandwiches), due to lack of funds to keep them operating in orbit.

  • So if this thing lands on my in-laws...I *also* get free vodka? Bring it on!!!

  • Maybe I'm the only one that thought of this, but I can't see how. With more than 20 shuttle missions scheduled for next year, why not have the shuttles (which were full on the way up with International Space Station parts) simply bring down MIR in pieces in their empty cargo bays when they return to earth? That would let scientists study the thing and maybe have it end up in a museum where it could be remembered. Sure it would involve some costs, but the shuttles are already UP there and it can't be that big of an expense to boost over to Mir and grab some or all of it for re-entry.... but I guess if it was easy, somebody would have considered that right?
  • by maggard ( 5579 ) <> on Thursday November 16, 2000 @06:37AM (#620067) Homepage Journal
    1. A "controlled descent" is one where the craft is actively de-orbited. In short thrusters fire to slow the vehicle, it drops lower, encounters increasing amounts of atmosphere and eventually comes down completely.
    2. This sort of descent is well-understood and very reliable. Indeed controlled descents happen with some regularity. Comparing this to uncontrolled descents where the object either had no contact with a ground control or has no means of adjusting it's attitude is about the same as comparing a car driven down a road to a car where the driver has bailed out at high speed. Mir!=Skylab.
    3. Things can't just be "dropped into the Sun". Getting out of Earth orbit takes a LOT of energy and these craft don't have that kind of thrust. If Mir had even a fraction of a percentage of that kind of thrust then it would just be pushed out to a parking orbit and saved as a museum piece.
    4. The area off Australia was picked precisely because there won't be a population nearby or shipping/fishing/cruise ships around. Furthermore they'll all be warned well ahead of time. Go get a globe and actually take a look at where Mir will come down - nothing much there or even nearby. The Pacific Ocean is a b-i-g place and space-junk gets dropped there regularly.
    5. Mir won't likely come down in a single chunk but in a clutter of debris. Unless one of those debris were to land directly on or really close to you or your building they probably wouldn't cause much problem. Again, there's nothing much out in this part of the Pacific to worry about - it's not even very biologically active below the waters & the small additionial amount of material from Mir won't be a big deal compared to the natural rate of meteoric material raining down.
    6. The mold is of earthly origin - it's nothing special. Short of completely sterilizing every object that goes into Mir (neither desired nor practical as folks carry a lot of biological-baggage with them) this is to be expected. Consider mold & mildew to be the rats & mice of space.
    7. Finally it is sad to see this chapter of space history close. On one hand Mir succeeded wildly beyond anyone's dreams, on the other it's now becoming increasingly unreliable & unsafe & it's country can no longer continue to support both it & their other space committments. The folks who designed/built/supported/lived-in Mir are to be commended and all have learnt from their skills and courage, now it is time to move on to the next step.
  • by LHOOQtius_ov_Borg ( 73817 ) on Thursday November 16, 2000 @07:12AM (#620074)
    Very good points! Controlled de-orbiting of MIR poses no signifigant threat to life on earth (less than normal meteor activity, since meteors are generally not so kind as to aim for the deep ocean), the mold is not "space mold" and will not pollute the earth or grow into space monsters, and it is indeed sad to close this chapter of space history... but I hope the ISS is opening an exciting new chapter.

    I would also like to add that the Russians having contributed so greatly to space exploration should continue to be invited to participate in internation space exploration efforts.

    While some people like to make fun of MIR, for many years I didn't see any other countries with orbital space stations - falling apart or otherwise. It is sad that MIR will have to be destroyed, and can not be boosted into a safe parking orbit, but let's hope the International Space Station will be an even bigger success and that renewed interest in manned space exploration will manage to resurface without the cold war posturing to drive it.

    If you want to support manned space exploration, you can check out:

    And, of course, write to your legislators regarding budgets, and write to support, or seek out jobs at, NASA:
    And the ESA:

    Let's hope that global cooperation can be achieved to produce an even more exciting era of space exploration than the one conceived as a cold war one-upmanship game... that would be great!
  • Besides the obvious answer that its cheaper to descend it then to push it off into space... why can't it be released into space?

    Perhaps I'm paranoid, but I was four when the soviet satellite came down in northern Canada, and I remember it being a really big deal, whether that was justified or not I don't know. But ultimately, when disposing of stuff in space the utmost care should be taken. What exactly would Russia do if this thing happens to land on some poor guys fishing boat? I far as I can figure sending it into space makes more sense then descending it. In the end wouldn't that be the safest disposal method? Am I missing something? Is there a better reason why they can't push it off into space?
  • Wouldn't it be more fun to crash Mir into the Moon?
  • The space fungi will infest the oceans and create huge blooms that will trigger an environmental disaster.

    I say we ditch Mir into the Sun!

  • I'll believe it when I feel pieces of it hit my head. Until then, I'm not holding my breath.

  • It's one of the most expensive and best fireworks show ever!

    Personally I was getting tired of the up-again down-again yo-yoing of Mir.

  • This thing weighs how much? Even though it is in orbit, you still have to apply a pretty large amount of thrust to snap it out of orbit and propel it toward the sun.

    Remember those big-ass 3-stage Saturn V boosters they used to get Apollo into space? Think the first two were to get into orbit, the third to actually break out of earth orbit and head for the moon. You probably need quite a bit of a booster to reach a high enough speed to break the gravitational pull of the earth. I know the positioning thrusters won't do it and I doubt the Progress ship they will probably use to nudge it out of orbit has enough either.

    No, I think you have only few options - just one makes sense:

    a) do nothing and hope it falls to earth somewhere uninhabited.
    b) demolish it in orbit - send a progress cargo ship up loaded with explosives and hope it breaks it up into small enough pieces that everything burns up?
    c) controlled de-orbit - use a progress supply vessel to remotely dock with it and slow it down at the right point so it re-enters the atmosphere over the pacific.
  • They are still haggling and have a weak contract.
    Russia increased its fee from $40 million to $100 million. The Survivor people thought they might meet the $40 million figure, but that wasn't firm. Even in dirt cheap Russian, space costs are probably higher than this.
  • Keep in mind this thing will be re-entering the atmosphere... which means it's going to get pretty damn hot from all the friction (like a shuttle landing). this should kill off anything that might be alive on the mir.

    i hope.

  • If Mir had even a fraction of a percentage of that kind of thrust then it would just be pushed out to a parking orbit and saved as a museum piece.
    Hasn't anyone considered doing this? How much would it cost to send up a tug?

    Considering that we spend millions of dollars restoring historical artifacts and works of art, can't we afford to be a little pro-active here?
  • There is probably a sizeable market of people who would pay $100,000 for a week in space (500,000 people x $100,000 = $50 billion). You probably need a space plane that can launch at $25-$50,000 per person to start with. Then a hab module attached to the Mir or Space Station Alpha.

  • Dear Slashdot users:

    Please note that we have linked the article "At Last, Mir to be Ditched" in error. It should go to:

    Iridium Saved? []

    In fact, Mir has yet again been saved, and Iridium has once again been ditched.

    Slashdot apologizes for continuously reporting the news before happens on these two issues.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (3) Ha, ha, I can't believe they're actually going to adopt this sucker.