“Where have all the flowers gone?”

March 12, 2009

space_junk_02121The Wall Street Journal reported today on the growing concern about man-made debris – the flotsam and jetsam of space missions launched over the past four decades. The junk orbiting the earth is both a danger to those of us on the surface of the planet who could be in the way when some scrap makes it through the atmosphere and a hazard to navigation up there. This is a case of the future imitating the past, isn’t it? What did the corporate “we” think was going to happen if every vehicle launched into space left its share of detritus? Probably the same thing we thought about all the batteries and vacuum tubes and flip tops mouldering away – or, more to the point, not mouldering away – in our landfills; the same thing we thought about all the chemical waste and scraps of mylar swirling around in the feeding grounds of dolphins. What’s that you say, Mr. Seeger? Oh, yes: “When will they ever learn?”

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