Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Haley Reading Group: “Dr. Space Junk Unearths the Cultural Landscape of the Cosmos”


[The Best American Science and Nature Writing (2018)]

In “Dr. Space Junk Unearths the Cultural Landscape of the Cosmos,” Dovey focuses on the work of Alice Gorman, a space archeologist. According to Gorman, we should treat “space as a cultural landscape with richly layered scientific, political, and religious meanings, instead of an empty vacuum that anybody…can venture into with impunity” (142).

Dovey focuses on the lengths Gorman must take in order to study the materials left over from the space age. Since Gorman cannot do fieldwork in space, she must be creative in her attempts often studying left over debris in order to single out satellites to connect the “dots of our history in space in ways non-specialists can understand” (144).

What is one important way that you shifted, expanded, or at least reconsidered your views of space as a result of reading this article?

63 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a result of reading this article, I am much more interested in the environmental impact we are having on outer space. Dr. Gorman talked about all of the trash that we have left behind. This trash tells a story, which is what Dr. Gorman is interested in. Unfortunately, I feel that the trash tells a story of human beings and how we are excited to explore outer space, but upon being there we show our disregard for it.

Marina T.

Alexis S. said...

This article shifted my view of space by educating me on how space is not just made up of a bunch of stars and planets but also filled with waste leftover from satellites and space explorations. I was surprised to read that the waste leftover was made up of tiny particles of paint, plastic bags, and metal debris that were all human made. This article also helped me realize that not only do we have a problem with waste on Earth but also in space.

- Alexis S.

Kenisha Townsend said...

This article has expanded my views of space by mentioning how much trash is in space orbiting around the earth (p.143). This caused me to consider the number of things people send into space for data collection or other purposes. The article also mentioned how some of the trash can last for decades. Therefore, I believe the materials of the objects should be degradable. In this way, after they've done their job they will disappear instead of populating space.

Justin Jubert said...

One thing that caught my attention and made me rethink my view of space was the controversial U.S SPACE Act of 2015, which allows citizens and big companies to make a profit using space resources and commercial exploration (146). While it may lead to problems due to people trying to claim space, it can also allow individuals, assumably wealthy, to experience space without extensive training. Lastly, space resources are extremely valuable, so maybe this will enable the United States to make money using these resources without having to invade foreign countries and murder civilians.

LaTrina Brown said...

Something that expanded my views of space after reading this article was the fact that the author and O'Leary had launched a project solely based on space. The project was similar to something that an earlier mentor of hers had instructed. That is incredible to me because I would love to follow the footsteps of a mentor of mine.

Jalen Clower said...

What's made me revisit my view of space were the comments made about trash and just how much human debris is in space currently. The usual thought that I have is that there are just a couple satellites and the space station, but not millions of tiny specks of waste and debris. Its almost like earth has a ring of trash.

Devin Ellis-Martin said...

One way this article changed my view was that in how we treat space. Since space is in infinitely expanding area, I used to think of it as just, everything else that exists, without true respect. However, we should treat space just like we would our planet, or better in our case, and be careful not to leave too much trash that will pollute the area around us.

-Devin Ellis-Martin

Jordan R. said...

As it said on page 142, I definitely saw space as just a "vacuum". Although, while I read the article I found it interesting that there are so many materials floating around in space that can be utilized for research (143). It's pretty cool that there is work towards making a catalogue of what materials are still in space.

Samantha A. said...

This article expanded my views of space by educating me on certain objects that are polluting space, some of which I never would have thought of. I imagined the debris in space to be from meteor, rockets, and satellites, but some of the debris is from "fairings, flecks of paint, and human waste" (143). My views of space were further expanded as I learned that the Space Age is only 60 years old, yet we know a lot already about space, but there is more information to discover.

-Samantha A.

Madalynn M said...

In the article, "Dr. Space Junk Unearths the Cultural Landscape of the Cosmos", I gained a better appreciation for what we would consider "junk". In archaeology, junk provides us with information on what was considered relevant at the time. By analyzing the junk we can go back in history and reflect on what society was like when these items were treasured and not trashed. After all isn't beauty in the eye of the beholder?

Anonymous said...

This article was very interesting as we as humans never really think about how we're affecting space. It is amazing how human waste can make its way into space and be the actual junk. I've never really thought of space in an environmentalist scope so this has enhanced my views and intrigued me with space in general.
-Thomas Siganga

Caleb Abernathy said...

Prior to reading this article, I have always been very interested in space, but a lot of the talks about it seemed very esoteric. I have never thought of the environmental impact that we have on space. According to the passage, NASA states that there are now more than 500,000 pieces of man-made debris floating in orbit(143).

To me, now I won't just think about space as a vast unknown void. Rather, a place where my decisions can impact it in either positive or negative ways.

Zaria Whitlock said...

After reading this article it made me more appreciative of the world surrounding us. We are small spectacles on this planet when considering the vastness and the unknown that lies beyond in space. We fail to realize how important of a landscape space is; often I feel we do treat it as an empty vacuum while it has so much more importance than that. This article expanded my views on space, because I realized not only how important space study is but also our individual appreciation for the lack of knowledge we have about the worlds far beyond our immediate reach.
-Zaria W.

Aleeya Barrolle said...

One way that my view of space has been expanded my thoughts is that the moon could eventually be a tourist destination. In the article it said, “Richard Branson keeps promising that Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip Two is only a couple of years away from taking the first tourists into space” (147).

-Aleeya B.

Donovan W. said...

My views about space have shifted when it comes to considering what is orbiting around the earth that we can not see with just our eyes alone. I never realized that there are over one thousand satellites in space orbiting around the Earth that we use everyday for various technology purposes. The article talks about the irony of this is that we have a hard time even looking up from our phones to notice what happens in our daily lives.

J'kolbe K. said...

After reading this article I am even more dumbfounded by space exploration. On page 142 the author states on page 142, "an artifact as unremarkable as a zip tie could be an enabler of space exploration." This leaves such a lasting impression on me because i always imagined that the tools involved in space exploration would all be one of a kind materials specially made for that purpose.

J'kolbe K. said...

After reading this article I am even more dumbfounded by space exploration. On page 142 the author states on page 142, "an artifact as unremarkable as a zip tie could be an enabler of space exploration." This leaves such a lasting impression on me because i always imagined that the tools involved in space exploration would all be one of a kind materials specially made for that purpose.

Mackenzie Cohoon said...

This article has expanded my view on space because it made me realize that our actions have effects beyond just earth. The article talks about how space is being overpopulated with human debris. We always here about how our actions are affecting us directly through things such as pollution and climate change, but I never realized just how far the consequences of our actions go.

Anonymous said...

Reading this article has shifted my view on humans and space. Even though we are polluting our earth and our oceans, it always seemed that the one thing that couldn't be polluted was space. It was very shocking for me to find out we have polluted so much of the space orbiting earth with numerous satellites.
Fatima Bashir

Isaiah J said...

This article did not completely change my view of space, as space still appears mostly empty and neutral to me. However, this article made me think of Earth and humanity as being more than just what is on our planet. It made me see humanity as expanding so that one day, space can be the way Dovey describes it.

-Isaiah J.

Jasmin Smoot said...

The readings covers a bit of a timeline of human missions to space and it's impact on space. The author compared the Earth and the debris put out by humans to a ball and M&M's on page 143. Initially I thought that was minimal, but I had not considered that space explorations have only been around for about 60 years. Scientist need to come up with methods to collect the debris that allows the team enough time to work rather than finding the items that have the worst output.

Kyla Tinsley said...

This article reinforced the thoughts I have about how humans negatively affect space with the amount of stuff we pollute it with (143). We never think about how much stuff we have left out in space - debris from broken satellites, fuel, and the like - as pollution, rather stuff that was left behind in a heroic attempt to explore the unknown. We should treat space like the Earth's environment and make sure not to continuously harm it, or else trouble may come in the future.

-Kyla T.

Jeremiah Terrell said...

Dovey focuses on the lengths Gorman must take in order to study the materials left over from the space age. Since Gorman cannot do fieldwork in space, she must be creative in her attempts often studying left over debris in order to single out satellites to connect the “dots of our history in space in ways non-specialists can understand” (144).

What is one important way that you shifted, expanded, or at least reconsidered your views of space as a result of reading this article?

Knowing that trash can clog up space expanded my views on space because I didn't think what took place on earth affects space. Also knowing human waste, bolts, and flecks of paint can go to space was important to know because I have always had a curiosity about where small particles end up when they fly away.

KaelynB said...

It changed my way of thinking in that I no longer think of space as a scary, empty vacuum of nothingness. Of course I know of planets and such, but I never thought about it in a way of something that can be so eye opening to things that I didn't even know I was sleeping on. Especially when she said "there are now more than 500,000 bits of human-made debris the size of a marble... in Earth orbit" (143). It's not enough to pollute earth, I guess. I am now more interested in space than I have ever been.
Kaelyn Blunt

Brandy Collier said...

One thing that expanded my knowledge about space was that studying the "space junk" could create new opportunities for new research fields. I also did not know that satellites could last long in space. On page 143 it states, " some of it can, technically, remain intact and in stable orbit for anything from decades to hundreds of years". I thought once they finished their research with it they brought it back. I didn't know it could withstand such a long amount of time in space.\

-Brandy Collier

Unknown said...

This article expanded my views by thinking about all the things that we do that could impact space. Like all of the satellites that we send up there if they break down it is not coming back down but just staying up there as space junk. Also about how all of the garbage that we have may impact what is going on up there.

Tara T.

Kelsey McNeil said...

After reading the article, space debris was brought to my attention. More importantly the amount of space debris that if left behind by satellites was brought up and ways people are trying to study this debris left behind. Going into the future, it will be important for everyone to think about space debris and ways to start reducing the amount that is orbiting our Earth. This is important because the amount of debris that is already orbiting the Earth is a large amount. If we want to see any progress with space exploration the amount of debris will absolutely expand, which is a scary thought. This is why it is important to start studying this debris impact now and finding a solution before it is too late.

Phoenix Johnson said...

This made me think how we pollute space just how we pollute the Earth with our trash. I never thought that the debris of satellite would still be in space. I thought that it would eventually dissolve by passing my a star or different atmosphere ,but that is not always the case.

Tatyana C. said...

Just by reading page 141, my mind was expanded because when we look at old artifacts we alway to envision what once was but how often do we look at though artifacts to determine what they could tell us about present day. For Gorman to be the only person to look at the old space artifacts to determine what might be found has put my personal thinking into a new perceptive. Which may not focus on what isn’t there or what used to be there but focus on what is there.

Ronald Akpan said...

This excerpt opened my eyes greatly to parts of our universe that were not known about, particularly due to the fact that these are in the outskirts of space. Specifically, the part where Dovey talks about the high rate of pollution intrigued me the most because although this area in space is far from us and will not affect us at the moment, eventually our planet will feel the affects if we do not work to fix those issues today.

Anonymous said...

I had no idea we had any waste in space at all. This article opened my mind on how we are not only destroying our planet with garbage but on how we are affecting the entire solar system. Makes one wonder how far our trash can reach.
Breann Walton

Brandon Nichols said...

You can draw a few parallels from this reading to the problems here on earth. The problems in space are the same problems we have with the ocean. We throw a ton of junk up there without thinking. On page 147, the US Department of Defense's Project West Ford could have ruined radio astronomy for good, which is similar to the rising water levels in our ocean. Point is, humans are bad. We screw everything up. The fact that we are in the clear to exploit the resources of other planets is disturbing, because we are never up to any good. We will see what happens in a few years.

Brandon N.

Alliyah M. said...

One way that the article shifted my ideas of space was how Dovey explained how much debris is orbiting around earth. Usually when people talk about space exploration or anything space related, space debris is barely discussed. I find it shocking that discussions of trying to get rid of the debris hasn't been talked about more often, especially when people are so interested in future space explorations humans will take. It's also shocking that this topic isn't talked about much when decreasing environmental pollution is such an important and frequent topic discussed.

Ivyanne B. said...

This article really opened up my eyes about space. I didn't realize that there were so many projects that were missed opportunities. I also didn't realize that there is so much junk in space. It made me think is there any way to get rid of the unused things that are in space instead of just leaving it there? Is there a way to create projects that can after a period of time disintegrate kind of how we have bio degradable products?
- Ivyanne B.

Zuriah Harkins said...

One way that this article has shifted my views on space is by making me realize that, not only that there is trash in space, but that we can also learn so much from it. At first, I really wasn't sure what happened to the things that we sent outer space. I assumed that they disappeared in some way, shape, or form. It never occurred to me that the debris is still orbiting the earth. I also find it interesting that the old objects hold so much history.

Zuriah H.

Nia piggott said...

A point where my viewpoint was shifted while reading " Dr Space junk Unearths the Cultural Landscape" was on page 143 where it states " NASA estimates that there are now 500,000 bits human made debris the size of marble or larger in earth orbit". If I'm being honest I do not know much about space or the history of it so I found the entire article to have expanded my views.

Jazsmine Towner said...

One of the things that made me reconsider my thoughts about space is the amount of trash the author mentioned in space. I wouldn’t expect space to be used a trash bin and I believe this highlights how problematic and urgent our trash problem is here on Earth. This article made me reconsider the necessary steps needed to solve our trash problems both in space and on Earth.
-Jazsmine Towner

Adejoke Adanri said...

This article really expanded my views on how much of an impact we have. On page 143 she states, “Our planet is like a giant beach ball completely surrounded by a dense layer of M&M’s” It really is sad that while we are trying to learn as much as we can about space, we do send things up there just to be abandoned after.I don't think anyone ever thinks about how we pollute space.

Linda H. said...

I never thought that the trash people dump in space could have any meaning in a historical context. On page 147, the passage states that “Richard Branson keeps promising that Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip Two is only a couple of years away from taking the first tourists into space”. This makes me wonder how much trash will tourists start to leave when space travel becomes more accessible in the same way that cruise ships dump food and other wastes into the ocean. I wonder how people will be regulated on what actions are taken in space because space can't be controlled as easily as countries on earth.

-Linda H.

Aliyah Johnson said...

My views on space expanded when reading that when referencing the space above the sky, Gordman says "in fact heavily overpopulated by our own trash.(144 Dovey)" This is hard to imagine, however people fail to realize that humans leave traces wherever we travel or have been. Not just on land. There is evidence of our existence wherever we travel.--Aliyah Johnson

Fontez McNeal said...

This article made me think about how much pollution humans cause. The fact that people can dedicate their entire career to the study of trash created by humans not only inside of the earth, but in space too, that is ridiculous. It is crazy to think that we can cause that much waste to build up, especially to the point where we're literally leaving our trash floating in space.

Argos 1756 said...

One things that really shifted my view was when about how trash and things are in space. The idea that not only are we destroying our own earth with this trash but its also going into space is very shocking, I didn't realize how far and how great our impact has been.

Anonymous said...

The sentence, " NASA estimate s that there are now more than 500,000 bits of of human-made debris the size of a marble or larger in Earth orbit." changed my views of space (143). Typically, when I think of space, I think of planets, moons, stars and satellites. I've never really thought about all the other things that could be orbiting in space. The author mentions that over time space could become so clogged, that it would be unstable.

-Jada Baker

Dasmin W said...

Before reading this article, I was not aware of the issues and problems surrounding space. The most I known about space is the Space race between the United States and Soviet Union. After reading this article, I am way more informed and educated on space and humans interaction with it. It's like humans treat space like earth in a negative way. We pollute it and treat space like property.

Anonymous said...

The sentence, "NASA estimates that there are now more than 500,000 bits of human-made debris the size of a marble or larger in Earth orbit." is what changed my views on space (143). Typically, when thinking of space, I think of stars, moons, planets and satellites. Ive never really thought about all the waste that could be floating around space. The article mentions that space could become so clogged that it could become unstable.

-Jada Baker

A. Robinson said...

One way this article has shifted my understanding and knowledge of space is through the idea that space is affected just as the Earth is. I never would have thought that there was a lot of trash out there orbiting in space but this article opened my eyes to that fact. Just as on Earth, we should realize the impact we, as human beings, have on our environment and eliminate the trash we leave around.

A. Robinson

gabby said...

This article titled, “Dr. Space junk unearths the cultural Landscape of the Cosmos”, helped me further my understanding of how us as humans are effecting space. Prior to reading this section of the book, I have had seldom knowledge of what really happens or occurs in space. I never have thought about the impact that us on earth can have environmentally to space. Apparently there are more than 500,000 pieces of debris (that are man made) that are in the space floating around? (143). While that is very interesting, it makes me think that we need to be more careful in terms of being more environmentally friendly to earth so it does not have a large impact on outer space!

Jasmyn Kloster said...

“Dr. Space Junk Unearths the Cultural Landscape of the Cosmos,” by Alice Gorman, a space archeologist, is the main focus of this blog post. One thing that I found important was the quote on page 143 that said, "NASA estimates that there are now more than 500,000 bits of human-made debris the size of a marble or larger in Earth orbit." As someone that does not venture and does not plan to venture into space, this surprised me. This also is very similar to the way we treat our environment. There are tons of plastics and other human debris in our oceans and forests. This just expands my mind on the human race and how careless we are when it comes to our trash. How can we expect to keep the human population safe if we are destroying everything that surrounds us?
-Jasmyn Kloster

Anonymous said...

"As a result of reading this article it changed my views as to how space should be viewed for exploration. When I read this article I thought about the ways in which humans have reeked havoc on planet earth and its biome. As a result, earth has had some extraordinarily catastrophic events such as climate change from the changes in environment caused by human presence. Space is such an unexplored territory and while fascinating I think that my views changed from exploring as much of it as possible to being very careful in how we as humans explore space. I think there should be very strict rules and guidelines for exploring space so we don’t destroy another environment through human curiosity and inhabitation."
Thank you
Jovahna Williams

Cheniya A. said...

My view of space and its exploration has been shifted in the way I think about the whole "going green" and recycling movement.
As the author writes about all of the trash and debris left in space, I am shocked. I feel that people who travel into space with such advanced technology should not be leaving things such as plastic bags. It has shifted my thinking in the way that even when one has the means to keep a space clean, humans just can't do it. It doesn't seem to be a priority.

Youssef H said...

One thing that increased my understanding of space is realizing how much debris is left over around our planet from previous assignments. Also when the space act in 2015 was mentioned, i never knew that legislation could be made that concerns outer space. I am more use to politics only concerning with issues on Earth rather than outer space.

Deja Thornton said...

my views on how what we do on earth and how it can affect space. I came to this realization after reading how much debris from earth can actually go into space. I never thought about how much we can affect bigger things.

Samontriona P. said...

As a result of reading this article, I now have an expanded view about space. The author states, "NASA estimates that there are now more than 500,000 bits of human-made debris the size of a marble or larger in Earth orbit."(143) This helps expand my knowledge because here on earth a lot of us do not think about the pollution that is occurring in outer space. Instead we just think of a pretty night sky with many stars, or sending people there to observe and collect data. I think we need to take these things into consideration and figure out a way to get rid of the many pieces of debris which was caused by us.

Crystal R. said...

One way my thoughts shifted after reading this article was when I read on page 143 that "there are now more than 500,000 bits of human-made debris the size of a marble or larger in Earth orbit." She then goes on to say, "This doesn't even take into account the millions of pieces of debris that are smaller than one centimeter. The Australian researcher Ben Greene says that within 20 years space could be so clogged as to be unusable," (143). I never thought about how much we and what we do affects space and just as we pollute the air here on Earth, we also are polluting space and it's actually quite scary to think that 20 years isn't that long before it could possibly become unusable as stated in the article.

Crystal R.

Marcus B. said...

I thought it was very interesting that "there are now more than 500,000 bits of human-made debris the size of a marble or larger in Earth orbit." (p. 143) Never really thought about there being debris out in space that was from Earth and not just from outer space. And the fact that it only accounts for some of it, there is still even more that are of smaller sizes. The article shifted my thoughts from there only being space debris to human-made debris out in Earth's orbit.

- Marcus B.

Miles W. said...

I never thought about debris or “space junk” floating around in space until I read this article. The idea that there are actually people who study space debris and the remains of abandoned space centers/hubs never crossed my mind. I found it so interesting that these, “space junkyards” can provide so much information to researchers that a conference session for space archaeology was born in 2003! As I continued reading, I found myself feeling disappointed and concerned that an act had been passed to allow commercialized space exploration/exploitation. Once again allowing the rich to do what they want to do to make another million, and disregard the rest of the human race. I learned so much from this article that I thought was only about junk, proving that “one man’s junk is indeed another man’s treasure”!

-Miles B.

Lyric Barnes said...

The fact that there is debris floating around earth is so scary. I never knew that they sent trash into earth's orbit due to lack of space for it here. This changes my thinking to the need for recycling. Like debris is human caused. If people could recycle more maybe we could reduce the amount.

Lyric Barnes

James Beverly III said...

One thing that I began to think about more after reading this article is how we need to think about the impact that we have on outer space. When the article said that the moon could be a tourist destination one day that really resonated with me. Most tourist destinations end up being trashed and polluted and we simply cannot risk that happening to space and our ozone layer.

-James B.

Hannah Coleman said...

While I love learning about the solar system we are a part of, I have never heard much of anything about the process of space becoming cluttered with debris from this planet. It is interesting to me that the pollution of this planet extends to outer space. There is now space junk in our atmosphere and it is having a really big impact on outer space. This will have effects on the ozone layer and the trash's orbit around the globe, as it can become potentially very dangerous for us.

Anonymous said...

This article has shaped my mind on how our waist do not only have repercussions on earth the ocean etc, but also in outer spaces. Honestly, I have never read an article that talked about trash in outer spaces. But the most important i get from the article is that space should be treated as good as we treat earth. As in some movies, it is said that space will one day become the hope for survival. - G Moluba

Kalonji said...

This article reminded me that no matter what the arena we as able have a very egocentric point of view in reference to where we stand compared to the rest of the universe. We believe ourselves to be the center of it. We've used much of the Earth's land and resources irresponsibility, and this behavior extends in our treatment of space as well.

Kalonji Rumph

Kamela Cross said...

This article has given me more to think about when it comes to space exploration. She throws the slightest of shade at rich company because they think that space is just their for the taking, instead of the beauty in it's riches that it is. We as humans like to believe that this whole solar system is just ours for the picking even though we can barely even keep our own planet alive.

dgeeter said...

This article expanded my views by thinking about all the things that we do that could impact space.It blew my mind that "there are now more than 500,000 bits of human-made debris the size of a marble or larger in Earth orbit." (p. 143) I didn't think anything even make it past the Earth's atmosphere honestly.This article has shaped my mind on how our waste not only has consequences on the earth, oceans etc, but also in outer spaces.One thing that I began to think about more after reading this article is how we need to think about the impact that we have on outer space.