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Space junk

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There has been quite a bit of discussion in the popular literature recently about a NASA plan to use lasers to nudge space junk out of the way of satellites and such.

 

http://dvice.com/archives/2011/03/nasa-wants-to-b-1.php

http://theweek.com/article/index/213197/nasas-plan-to-clean-up-space-junk-lasers

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/03/lasering-space-junk/

 

There are some problems with the case, but it is cheap.

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That's interesting; I made a rough case in this vein a few weeks before this. It seems like a relatively simple case, and a whole lot more technologically possible than a lot of the other stuff that we'll be seeing. Nice way to turn the Space Debris DA into an affirmative... get to talk about Kessler Syndrome! Should be fun.

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This is oddly kind of a big stick affirmative. Although it could potentially link turn some relations disads. ie Russia & China & India other countries would probably like it if we got rid of the junk in space. Unless:

1) the "junk" belongs to them (in other words we have a disagreement about what constitutes junk in space).

2) they know we're only doing it for selfish reasons. However, i think a rising tide helps all space explorers in this case. (it would be analogous to cleaning junk at sea or from the rainforest....everyone benefits).

 

Advantages:

1) NMD inevitable. Space junk = miscalc.

2) ASATS inevitable. Space junk will take down ASATS & = nuclear conflict

3) Nuclear Sats inevitable. (same basic scenario as above

4) SPS is inevitable. Space junk kills SPS. SPS rocks. [aka Solar Powered Sats]

5) Space junk will kill other stuff like research & commercial sats. Killing commercial sats hurts the economy.

 

The problem is 1) timeframe isn't just long--its rather unspecified (which is doubly tough) 2) lack of historical evidence. although I'm sure those in favor of clearing the junk have some documented proof of near miss or the almost catastrophe. Or correspondingly--we run into tons of space junk and either it doesn't have a problem or the technicians course correct (this is analogous to the g.warming argument that we will adapt & empirically do adapt).

 

Also the counter plan of ban future space exploration seems to solve most of the problems (except those related to other countries space programs, unless you have a modeling internal link--which in this case would seem to be overridden by the quest for nationalism & prestige which tends to drive space programs in the first place.)

Edited by nathan_debate
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This reminds me of Wall-E.

 

Maybe one of the advantages could have a Wall-E impact: If we do not initiate a plan to stop trashing space, our planet will end up like Wall-E's planet 300 years from now.

 

:D

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Johnathans mention of Wall-E reminded me there is always the: stop the root cause mindset which gives rise to space junk vs. just re-arranging chairs on the titanic (piecemeal changes) argument.

 

Yes...Bobertz (aka scapegoating) links to Space Junk (obviously a whole range of other eco-style critiques, not the least of which are grounded in technologies ideology & its effect on how humans relate to the world (ecological), each other (interpersonal), & themselves (intra-personal).

 

Given that some space junk is "accidental"--presumably (parts just fall off....and its hard to chase them down)--I wonder **how much** it links. It further means that the alt might not solve. (or if it does solve we wouldn't go to space--so impact turns have more validity).

 

(Beware of the link turns--clean up = conciousness raising.) Although if its like ionize the space junk--thats not to environmental friendly with respect to use of materials (aka not recycling).

Edited by nathan_debate

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Nathan debate: you mentioned a problem with a long, unspecified timeframe. When making my case, I found this card:

“A Cosmic Question: How to Get Rid Of All That Orbiting Space Junk?”, Daniel Michaels, Wall Street Journal, March, 2009

Experts are also taking a fresh look at the NASA’s 1996 Project Orion, a “space broom” concept to fry space trash with ground-based lasers. When Jonathan W. Campbell of NASA started leading the effort, he thought the approach would entail futuristic, costly technologies. Instead, his team concluded that for the price of one shuttle launch – roughly $500 million – the laser could nudge thousands of bits of garbage toward incineration in the atmosphere within five years. Compared to the cost of losing a satellite or a shuttle to space debris impact, “this looks like a bargain,” says Dr. Campbell.

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Thats a great card. However, ever affirmative has 4 timeframes.

 

For Affs:

Harms timeframe

Solvency timeframe

 

For Disads:

Link timeframe

Impact timeframe

 

(there can obviously be others, especially with mulitple advantages or harms)

 

I would make the distinction between solvency timeframe (what that card discusses) and the harms timeframe or scenario timeframe of projected & possible (aka risky future events we don't know when will happen) disasters.

 

There may be authors in the literature which make sophisticated calcs about the probability (risk/reward) of the probability of a collision given

# of junk times # of satellites & rockets (i'm sure its far, far, far more complex).

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Excellent point. The only cards that I've found that come close to addressing this problem all look something like this:

“Space Junk: Orbiting Debris, Once a Nuisance, Is Now a Threat”, William Broad, New York Times, February, 2007

In the last decade or so, as scientists came to agree that the number of objects in orbit had surpassed a critical mass – the point at which a chain reaction becomes inevitable – they grew more anxious. Now, experts say, China’s test of an anti-satellite rocket that shattered an old satellite into hundreds of large fragments means the chain reaction will most likely start sooner. If their predictions are right the cascade could put billions of dollars’ worth of advanced satellites at risk and eventually threaten to limit humanity’s reach for the stars. “It’s inevitable,” said Nicholas L. Johnson, chief scientist for orbital debris at NASA.

Today, next year, or next decade, some piece of whirling debris will start the cascade, experts say.

Obviously, this might not be able to stand up to high-level scrutiny.

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I think that I may have found a semi-usable card for harms timeframe... Iffy, but decent.

"The Looming Space Junk Crisis: It's Time to Take Out the Trash", Evan Schwartz, Wired Magazine (Probably a better source somewhere...), May, 2010

(Insert rambling about Donald Kessler here)

... His description of a runaway cascade of collisions - which he predicted would happen in 30 to 40 years - became known as Kessler Syndrome.

...

Then, on Feb. 10, 2009 - just a little more than three decades after the publication of his paper - the Kessler syndrome made its stunning debut. (Insert description of the Iridium crash of the previous post here)

...

As Kessler received reports of the collision from former colleagues at NASA, he realized that the situation had played out pretty much as he'd foreseen. After all, he had forecast that the first satellite collision would happen around this time between objects roughly this mass. Like an opening shot in a war, the crash served as a signal that the syndrome had gone from theory to reality.

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I would plan on FX-T with regards to development. Sure demo paves the way for development but is it actually development with ground based lasers? If you put lasers in space to clear debris you get space militarization issues.

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Merriam Webster, 3b: (1)to make available or usable <develop natural resources> (2) : to make suitable for commercial or residential purposes <develop land>

The argument would be that "paving the way for development" (i.e. making something usable) is development, in and of itself. If the plan were to establish a colony on Mars, what is the USFG actually doing? It is building a complex of buildings on Mars and getting people there; this is simply making that spot of land on Mars able to be used for scientific/survival purposes. It is simply making it more usable.

Similarly, eliminating debris from space is making that space more usable; taking out something bad is fundamentally equivalent to putting in something good.

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But that definition is assuming a primitive state. The space in question has already been developed. Does picking up trash on the freeway develop it? I'm not saying it can't be argued just that there is a argument there.

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I understand completely, that you are just pointing out that there is an argument there; I agree. However, what you just said got me thinking: is "the space in question" indeed already developed? Obviously, development has occured in space, and even in Low-Earth Orbit. But, could the same be said about the space occupied by the individual bits of debris that such a plan would be targeting? It seems like this would be an interesting debate to have.

This is the type of Topicality argument that's fun to talk about, and actually allows education to happen.

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Civilian as in a private company or civilian as in the USFG but not the DoD? If the latter than there would still be a good link.

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One way to run the case would be: Lasers for space debris are inevitable. Using powerful lasers threatens other countries with military satellites, increasing risk of miscalculation, harming relations, etc. Plan uses low-power lasers, which are not a threat to satellites.

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I like it. Saying that lasers for debris are inevitable might be difficult, but the rest sounds good. I was reading some technical papers that were published a few years back, and it takes quite a while for big stuff to be de-orbited; even if there were a miscalculation, the effects would be minor. I think that it'd be relatively easy to win that such lasers are safe.

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Outside of NASA and DoD, there are some private firms working on space debris. STAR Inc., Jerome Pearson's company, comes to mind as one who is working on both debris and the space elevator. OMB is authorized to offer prizes for tech accomplishments (like the X=Prize) and people are urging OMB to open a prize for space debris removal, so we will see more in future years.

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That is a good one. In addition, it would be good to have something saying that nothing is currently being done to actively remove debris, just in case. For example, hylanddd mentioned some private companies; the affirmative would have to prove that they aren't actually doing anything now/soon. Combine that with your card, Lemur, and Inherency should be pretty airtight.

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I'm sure someone will say that the private companies aren't doing enough:

1) they aren't going fast enough (or can't go fast enough)

2) they are using the wrong technology or there is some bad feedback from their tech

3) they are just pursuing private interests

4) their strategic outlook is poor

 

I would worry about the private companies counterplan, because that probably could solve this aff--and most affirmatives.

 

Who do other countries want doing the work? Will answer the questions to:

1) internal links to relations DAs (or link turns) as well as Reverse relations DA

2) hegemony

3) softpower

4) probably overall solvency (ie modeling or international coop or multilaterialism to solve)

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So, this private companies counterplan: is the text something like 'private companies should do the plan' or more like 'USFG should encourage private companies to do the plan'?

To me, it seems like both have significant problems. The latter is simpler: government infringement and/or solvency, etc. The former, however, is interesting. A counterplan is nothing more than an opportunity cost: "USFG should not do the plan because then this won't happen." If the counterplan isn't going to happen anyway, then there is no opportunity cost, and therefore, no reason to reject the plan. You could probably win that 'private companies should do the plan instead of the USFG,' but not 'the USFG should do nothing, in order to allow private companies to do the plan.' Because, really, policy debate is just an argument over 'what the USFG should do', not 'what should happen.'

Essentially, I feel that any counterplan with an agent of action other than the USFG does not actually present a reason why the government should do nothing instead of the plan unless the negative can prove that it (in this case, the privatization) will happen if and only if the plan is not passed. If they prove that, then the argument would probably be better as a Solvency/DA anyway.

What are your thoughts?

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So, this private companies counterplan: is the text something like 'private companies should do the plan' or more like 'USFG should encourage private companies to do the plan'?

To me, it seems like both have significant problems. The latter is simpler: government infringement and/or solvency, etc. The former, however, is interesting. A counterplan is nothing more than an opportunity cost: "USFG should not do the plan because then this won't happen." If the counterplan isn't going to happen anyway, then there is no opportunity cost, and therefore, no reason to reject the plan. You could probably win that 'private companies should do the plan instead of the USFG,' but not 'the USFG should do nothing, in order to allow private companies to do the plan.' Because, really, policy debate is just an argument over 'what the USFG should do', not 'what should happen.'

Essentially, I feel that any counterplan with an agent of action other than the USFG does not actually present a reason why the government should do nothing instead of the plan unless the negative can prove that it (in this case, the privatization) will happen if and only if the plan is not passed. If they prove that, then the argument would probably be better as a Solvency/DA anyway.

What are your thoughts?

 

Politics or spending are reasons why the USFG shouldn't take action, which are net benifits to the counterplan.

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