I have a great idea; lets enshroud the Earth with a fine metallic dust!
The folks at the Navel Research Laboratory think it is a good idea too, as a way of cleaning up the smaller particles of space junk accumulating around the planet that cant be shot down with lasers or pushed into a decaying orbit like dead satellites, ejected telescope lenses, spaceship parts and the occasional space whale carcass can.
The concept is pretty simple, release about 20 tons of tungsten dust into the orbit at about 680 miles up. Over several decades, the super-dense metal will drag these smaller particles down.
Of course, there are some objections. People worry what the magic dust cloud will do to functioning equipment or spacecraft passing through. The geniuses behind the idea say telescopes and satellites can be positioned to avoid the dust and the 30 micrometer particles wouldn’t be able to penetrate thermal blanketing. Who knows what else the tungsten might do to communications or the view of space from earth.
I’m sure there would be other un-intended side-effects too, like enshrouding the earth in f*cking tungsten dust.
If we put tungsten IN SPACE, I would much rather see it used to blow the bejesus out of things using kinetic energy. A while back, somebody at Boeing realized tungsten rods, ranging from the size of a crowbar to a telephone pole, would make great weapons if launched at a target FROM SPACE. Called kinetic bombardment (nicknamed “Rods from God”), the largest of the projectiles would have the impact of a small tactical nuke, minus the annoying radiation.
The upside; these weapons are not covered in any sort of treaty or convention, so we could do whatever the heck we want with them. The downside; getting just one poles-sized rod into orbit would take about six of our most powerful rockets.
Some already claim this cleaning project is just a back door way of getting clearance for tungsten weapons testing. Great. I love the idea of being able to destroy a whole city, but I hate radiation. It makes conquering the native women less appealing.
In the meantime, I’m not so hot on the idea of putting the sh*t in our orbit to neutralize the sh*t in our orbit.
Lets stick with lasers, for now.