Claude Nicollier, Roger-Maurice Bonnet
Published December 2, 2015
Reference - 216 Pages - 97 Color & 10 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9782940222889 - CAT# N11544
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The space surrounding our planet is full of opportunities and resources. Ranging from a hundred to a few thousand kilometers around Earth, our space-neighborhood offers an excellent vantage point to the universe, and a great opportunity to push the frontiers of science and knowledge. Manned missions advance research on human biology, health, and life in microgravity conditions. Satellite technologies gather essential data to better understand and manage our home planet by monitoring Earth’s environmental changes. Extraordinary developments in telecommunications and navigation are now indispensable to everyday life, and we cannot underestimate the emerging industry of space-tourism or the boom in projects to explore more distant planets such as Mars.
But space also means risk. What is the real threat of meteorites? How much debris — from old rocket stages to mere flakes of paint — has been left there since space exploration began? How serious is this problem today? What is the risk of solar flares and particle bursts? How does our own Sun influence our climate? And what about the danger of cosmic radiation for humans and devices stationed beyond our atmosphere?
By tackling a wide range of topics, this book aims to give a comprehensive overview of the opportunities and hazards in our immediate space environment. It also exposes the challenges that governments, space agencies, private companies, and human communities have to face in order to manage space together to create long-term and safe access to it, while protecting life on Earth.
Introduction. Setting the scene. Characteristics of our space environment (Near-vacuum - Zero-g or microgravity - Other features of the Earth gravity environment - Radiation balance - Radiation and particle flux from the Sun and the Galaxy - The Earth’s magnetosphere). Utilization of our space environment for practical purposes, science and exploration. Rewards and Power of Space. Unweiling the mysteries of cosmic lights (Incredible Solar System - What has space taught us? The mysteries of darkness - Plurality of worlds and universality of life). Observing Earth’s skeleton and skin, surveying its health, monitoring its aging (Observing tools - Forecasting, facing, and managing Earth - First steps toward a global space governance for Earth monitoring). Influence of outer space on the Earth. The Sun (Living 8 light-minutes away from a cosmic nuclear furnace - The magnetic active star - Sun’s influence on Earth: the Carrington even - Space Weather)- 3.2 Weather and Climate (The four step dance of planet Earth - Sunlight influence on climatic modulations - The Sun and the atmosphere: a vital interaction - The influence of volcanic and solar activities- Future natural climate influence). Asteroids and Comets, (The Near Earth Object Impact Hazard - Observation, Detection, and Impact Prediction- Preventing an Impact - Way forward?). Impact of human activity on the near space environment. Space Debris (What is space debris? - What do we know, how much space debris is there? - Why is space debris a problem? - What are the immediate countermeasures? - Where does the data come from? - Protecting the space environment – an international endeavor - Predicting the future - Long-term sustainability of outer space activities - International policies and requirements). Opportunities and limits for actors. Introduction. Responsibilities of space faring nations (Antarctic treaty – precursor to space activities "governance" - The supranational framework - Role of ESA regarding national endeavors - Switzerland’s response). Political stakes (Rationale for public investment- Role of space in mountainous regions - Space transportation and satellite data for growth). Opportunities through cooperation (Interdependence: an investment - Example of China: more than a rising power - Earth monitoring: new opportunity for cooperation?). Increasing role of private actors. The future of space. Space techniques and innovation. Will today’s utopia become tomorrow’s reality? (Risks and limits of space exploration - Mining and using space resources). Managing space station Earth.