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U=(N/T)M*G: Debris

The announcement of the mission extension for the ISS gives me mixed feelings. I mean, I love the Station. Wrote about it here a few times. Hell, wrote a whole trilogy on board the “little” thing. I’m such a nerd about it that I’ve got the Haynes manual. It’s a thing I plow through regularly.

I’m pretty concerned about it though. Not the drama over Russia’s will they, won’t they attitude in regards to continuing with the Station’s mission. I always knew they’d keep on with the ISS.

I’m talking about all the little bits and bobs of debris up there with them. The leftovers from other missions, as big as a bullet or better. Something to the tune of 170,000,000 pieces big enough to track. I’d hate for something to happen.

Now, I’ve heard that space is big and the radar capabilities and unbeatable and thruster ability is amazing. The Soyuz pods for emergency escape. The whole nine. And yes, they’ve had punctures in the hull and equipment before.

And yet.

In a story world, it would make a great twist. Middle of a fight scene with the hero needing to escape? What the hell’s that bright object coming out of nowhere? Perfect distraction. Or maybe need a disaster, but don’t want the usual? Down that bad boy on a population center, big or small, depending on the vibe needed.

What I do know, is the longer we operate in space, the more likely it is for a disaster like the Station taking major damage is bound to happen, though I hate the thought of the actual reality. It’s a great plot device, however. Something about a staple, an icon, of human achievement in space ending in such a manner is, while horrifying, also awesome in the true sense of the word.

T.A. Creech

Science in the pursuit of fiction.

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