a sense of proprtion please

FEB 17 2009
Within a short interval we hear of two expensive collisions - one in space, the other deep in the Atlanti ocean. There is a rumble of political outrage about the latter but little comparable concern about the first. Yet the collision between UK and French nuclear armed submarines, the first such event in 40 years of patrols, is if anything evidence of success in their technology of stealth when travelling very slowly, while the accident in space between an Iridium communications satelllite and an aged, out of service piece of Russian military hardware is a serious failure with incalculable consequences.

I use the word incalculable advisedly as the the two space vehicles, whose presence was not secret and supposedly the object of constant, automated tracking to avoid such an accident, will have given rise to a collection of objects which will now pose a much more complex and difficult risk to assess and counter. Political activism would be useful indeed if it drew the attention of politicians to the need to fund and hold to high standards the operators and guardians.of our activities in the orbital space around our planet on which we now, without a doubt, depend for the maintenance and management of planetary affairs and our very survival.

The operators of the two submarines will have learned an important lesson, but the risk to the humanity of two such vehicles travelling extremely slowly (the only way they could be mutually indetectable) was nil. The fact that they were in the same area was presumablly not completely a matter of chance, but even of it was (the odds against that being near to winning the lottery) the significance of risk is scacely more or less.

The aim of the major nuclear powers is to achieve nuclear arms reduction with a probable final goal of a single, internationally held nuclear deterrent, to keep the technology in the hands of accountable authorities, at some date in the future. In the mean time, to achive this end, unilateral disarmament must be limited to those who do not wish to work for multilateral disarmament.

JUNE 28th 2011
It is time to ram the point home. Climate Control is what we must aim for, however difficult. It will only come about when the situation forces it, but mastery of Earth Orbit is a sine qua non. At the moment, we keep the space-station from destruction by moving it out of the way of space debris. This time, there was not enough warning. It survived by pure chance.

SEPTEMBER 2nd 2011
Scientists in the US have warned Nasa that the amount of so-called space junk orbiting Earth is at tipping point.

It seems there is a problem here in assigning responsibility for (a) recognising the problem and (b) doing something about it.
We have the entire planet's wealth and expertise at our disposal, but no world government, just the good old United Nations Organisation and its powerless Secretary General, which has no command and control authority beyond administrative functions and directing funds that have already been given approval and allocated to areas of action. In what we loosely call 'Space' there is cooperation on specific projects but in general the environment is still competitive. It is a game of cherry-picking. Well, unless we get together and clean this mess up there will be no more cherries to pick, let alone proper work to be done at acceptable risk.