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Obscure Dangers of Spaceflight: Being Unable to Stop

Gene Cernan on the moon. (Cr. NASA.gov)

Part five of the six part ‘Obscure Dangers of Spaceflight’ series will go over one of the least thought of, yet most dangerous of all those dangers mentioned yet; the inability to stop. Just showing up to the party? Head on over to the other parts and see what you’ve been missing. You can find them here: Moon Dust, Space Junk, Static Electricity, and Heatstroke.

The Inability to Stop

Perhaps one of the most surprising aspects of spaceflight is the fact that it really doesn’t take all that much fuel to do it. The only thing you have to worry about is getting the craft to its top speed, or the speed at which it will need to travel to get its job done. For the space shuttle, this speed was close to 17,500 miles per hour; a speed that took relatively little fuel to attain. The problem that space travelers are faced with then, of course, is the pesky law that Newton came up with so long ago. See, as it turns out, Newton’s first law states that every object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force. Furthermore, he goes on to state in his third law that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.


Obscure Dangers of Spaceflight: Static Electricity

In part three of the six part series on the obscure dangers of spaceflight, we will take a look at how one, harmless seeming zap can kill or seriously incapacitate space travel. See how the exchange of electrons can bring man, in all his technological glory, to his knees.

Charging Atoms

Static Electricity.

To some, it’s nothing more than a mild annoyance that gives you a little zap when you touch something or someone. To others it’s a means of entertainment, as anyone who has used it to make hair stand on end or balloons stick to walls will be quick to tell you. Nobody is really afraid of static electricity because it is pretty weak and aside from surprising you, it can’t hurt you. Unless you are momentarily away from the planet.


Obscure Dangers of Spaceflight: Space Junk

In part two of this six part series, we will be looking at the fifth of the top six obscure dangers involved in human spaceflight. In our first installment (located here – Obscure Dangers of Spaceflight: Moon Dust) we saw how deadly moon dust could be. Today, we are going to take a look at the threat posed by paint chips and stray bolts that are out there, orbiting the Earth.