The Instigator
imabench
Pro (for)
Winning
22 Points
The Contender
lannan13
Con (against)
Losing
12 Points

Resolved: The United States shall implament the a program to clean up space junk.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 8 votes the winner is...
imabench
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/5/2013 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,760 times Debate No: 33300
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (12)
Votes (8)

 

imabench

Pro

This is a serious debate between me and Lannan regarding Pennington's tournament of champions. Sorry for taking so long but its Finals weeks down here in UM and ive been preoccupied as hell with the finals, the Weekly Stupid, the USoDDO, and the DDO Walking Dead.

I am pro the US implementing a program to clean up space junk, Lannan is con such a program

4 rounds, first round acceptance only, 6000 character limit
lannan13

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
imabench

Pro

Dammit I said I would make it four rounds and I only made it three -________-

I apologize for the f*ck up, along with the horrible grammar of the resolution, but thats what I get for copy-pasting things word for word.... I'll do the best I can with what I can and hopefully we get a good debate

Reasons why the US should implement a program to clean up space junk:

1) Theres a ton of space junk in space

http://en.wikipedia.org...

NASA is currently tracking close to 19,000 pieces of space debris in Low Earth Orbit, and thats just the stuff that they have managed to catalog despite a smaller budget. Actually as of right now, the only thing they can do is track it since no program exists to actually remove all this material from Space. The only thing that does remove all this junk from orbit is Earths gravity itself, a natural process where once in a while space junk will fail to maintain a certain speed to stay in orbit and will instead fall to Earth, most of the time burning up in the atmosphere.

All of the debris that doesnt fall to Earth though is left in Earths orbit and poses a threat to other orbiting satellites, either through erosion or massive collisions that could take out the entire satellite and cause it to turn into even more space debris. Space debris affects satellites in orbit, rockets being launched into space, and also manned missions in space, all of which is vulnerable to being incapacitated by space debris hurling at them.

http://images.spaceref.com...

The threat of space debris is a very large problem to nations that depend on satellites for all kinds of things, which is every developed nation in the world at this point. If left unchecked, the problem of space debris will only grow over time and could even lead to a catastrophic chain reaction that could render space unusable. Ill get more into that later though.

2) The cost wouldnt be as bad as you think

A program to clean up 19,000 pieces of junk floating around in space? Sounds expensive but consider the following.

The US only accounts for about 34% of all space junk, with Russia accounting for about 28%, nations of the EU accounting for around 18%, and a host of other nations also creating some as well. Space junk isnt something that affects only the US, and it isnt something that is caused only by the US either. Numerous other nations contribute to the creation of space junk, and also have a lot to lose if it becomes a problem, meaning it is very reasonable to assume that other nations would pitch in to help fix the problem.

It is also feasible that the provate sector could step in and offer to clean up space junk for nations as well. Companies like Space-X could potentially handle space debris themselves if governments give them financial incentives to do so, meaning that the problem could literally be fixed by spending a little money on the private sector and let them handle it. That could cause jobs to be created and yatta yatta yatta too.

3) Space junk is a growing problem and can cause a crapload of damage too:

The amount of space junk has tripled since the 1980's and continues to grow over time, meaning that if left unchecked like it has up to this point, the problem will only get worse.
http://www.rawstory.com...

Space junk can also cause a very serious problem. Even though most space junk is on average about 5 centimeters wide, the average speed of space junk is close to 15,000 miles per hour, or about 25,000 kilometers per hour. Space junk isnt a couple dozen large, dead satellites hurling at each other just missing each other over and over, it is much more like thousands and thousands of bullets flying all around the Earth causing a ton of damage to other satellites that are being used and depended upon.

4) Apocalyptic result on the horizon

Most people arent familiar with what 'Kessler Syndrome' is, but Kessler Syndrome is what happens when the amount of Space junk in Earth's orbit reaches such a high load, that the collisions of space junk with other orbiting satellites could cause a chain reaction which. Its that apocalyptic chain reaction event I mentioned before.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

When space Debris collides with other objects, it often leads to more space debris being created and launched into orbit around the Earth, causing a chain reaction where space debris grows over time. The more satellites there are in space, the greater the chance for space debris to hit it and create more space debris.

Now heres the big problem, Earth itself controls space debris a lot simply by pulling the debris down to Earth out of space. However, humanity keeps launching all kinds of stuff into space which offsets how much space debris the earth naturally pulls out of orbit. If humanity continues to launch more and more stuff into space, then the amount of space junk that would be created would be too much for the Earth to remove through natural processes.

Such a domino effect, if left unchecked longer like it already has, could actually grow to such proportions that there would be so much space debris in orbit it would cause space exploration and the use of satellites entirely to become completely unfeasible. Space debris could cripple countries that rely heavily on satellites for all kinds of things, and could be disastrous for everything from modernized militaries to television programming and the use of GPS.

Space junk is a very real problem that cannot be left unchecked, which is why the US should implement some kind of program to clean it up or at least keep it at manageable levels.
lannan13

Con

Alrightly, from the looks of it, I can group Pro's arguements into two seperate contentions.

1. Space Junk and the Kessler Syndrome and the Costs.

In this contention I would like to point out a few things. First off Kessler admitted in an interview that the Kessler syndrome is all hyped up. "To fight debris, he said, designers will have to give spacecraft more and more shielding, struggling to protect the craft from destruction and making them heavier and more costly in the process. At some point, he said, perhaps centuries from now, the costs will outweigh the benefits."- Kesller. Kessler called it the worst case scenario an exaggeration. So it's obvious that even when the guy who comes up with it recants it it's pretty bad. http://www.nytimes.com....

Second thing I would like to bring up is that this debate's resolution states that the United States shall implament a plan to clean up space junk, but if you look at the specifics in international law. The United States can't clean up all space junk because it would be illegal via international to clean up other nation’s space junk since the space debris still belongs to that nation. So you can see here Pro can’t solve for space junk. http://www.onorbitwatch.com...

Orion
We’ll now look at the two space debris clean up programs and see why they are both flawed. Grossman has reported from about the orion space debris program, “NASA scientists have suggested shooting space junk with lasers before. But earlier plans relied on military-class lasers that would either destroy an object altogether, or vaporize part of its surface and create little plasma plumes that would rocket the piece of litter away. Those lasers would be prohibitively expensive, the team says, not to mention make other space-faring nations nervous about what exactly that military-grade laser is pointing at.” , http://www.wired.com... Secondly such a program has been outlawed by international law in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 http://history.nasa.gov...
Even if it is somehow legal this technique will only increase the amount of space junk.

Catcher's Mitt

Catcher’s Mitt fails, it would cost 3.8 billion dollars to match ORION in efficiency.

Phipps 10 (PhD at Stanford University in plasma physics, Photonic Associates, “Catcher’s Mitt” as an Alternative to laser Space Debris Mitigation, 2010, http://photonicassociates.com..., AX)

Table 4 shows the results for particles of size 1 and 10 cm and densities 1 (representing polymers) and 9 g/cm3 (steel). To slow all these particles, the Table shows that the mitt thickness must be 47 cm, so mitt mass from Eq. (4) must be m = 81 kT on orbit. With current launch technology, m/M = 4.8% [5], so launch vehicle mass M would be 1.7 MT, and would require a thruster capable of 3.8 billion pounds thrust at liftoff, 500 times larger than any thruster ever built. Even if the object were divided into 500 payloads, the cost would be prohibitive.

Lenard David who has been reporting on the space industry for the past decade has reported that cleaning up space debris is not fessible. http://www.msnbc.msn.com..., Thus meaning even if the United States implaments this plan that we will just be throwing money at a problem and we all know that throwing money at a problem doesn't make it go away.

Debate Round No. 2
imabench

Pro

1) Kellser Syndrome + Costs

"Kessler called it the worst case scenario an exaggeration."

In your own article Kessler still strains the point that Space junk is a problem and that it has the power to make Space travel impossible. Kessler even goes on record in the article saying: "To fight debris, designers will have to give spacecraft more and more shielding, struggling to protect the craft from destruction and making them heavier and more costly in the process. At some point, the costs will outweigh the benefits", meaning that even though Kessler feels his own worst case scenario is a bit of a stretch, the danger of Space junk is still very real and should be addressed.

"The United States can't clean up all space junk because it would be illegal via international to clean up other nation’s space junk since the space debris still belongs to that nation"

This argument is easily countered by the source you again provide: "without consent from the owner, it cannot be disposed of or otherwise interfered with".

As long as nations give consent to have their nonfunctioning, 30 year old space junk be removed from orbit, the entire problem of international laws you are citing is taken care of. It is most certainly NOT impossible for the US to clean up space junk due to international laws since those laws can be overcome simply by nations giving the US permission to remove defunct, no longer in use, wortless space junk from space.

2) "Orion and Catchers Mitt"

You only cared to cherry pick the two most expensive programs as the only solutions to fight space junk when there are several inexpensive options on the table that would work even better then the two concepts you cared to provide:
http://www.treehugger.com...
http://mentalfloss.com...

Plus the private sector is already developing other ideas to clean up space junk as well:
http://www.dnaindia.com...

The cost of cleaning up space junk depends entirely on the method used to actually clean it up, which can range from inexpensive to slightly expensive (The US spends Trillions on Health and Military operations, I think they can spare a couple billion for space), and the value of the satellites that would otherwise be saved from such space debris would vastly outweigh the cost to clean up the space junk in the first place. On top of that you have the private sector who could handle the problem for the US at a smaller cost, and other nations could provide funding to clean up the space junk since chances are, some of it belongs to them.

Russia has already spent $2 billion on a program to clean up space junk themselves which shows that other nations do have an interest in eliminating space junk.
http://www.popsci.com...

Switzerland is also getting in on the action with their own program as well:
http://www.usnews.com...

England is also poking around with ideas of their own regarding removal of space junk:
http://zeenews.india.com...

The point is, many nations have already expressed interest in cleaning up space junk, which means that the US isnt the only one who will have to foot the bill or be the one to do anything about it, and that nations could combine existing methods to work together to clean up space junk rather then start from scratch. Not to mention that the private sector could also get in on the actiona and lend a helping hand as well.

You also dont even have to get rid of ALL the space junk, you only have to clean up a portion of it and only have to be able to keep it in check so that it doesnt pose a big threat anymore

===============================================================

Reasons why the US should implement a program to clean up space junk

- Could create jobs
- The value of the satellites in space at risk from space junk vastly outweighs the cost of cleaning the space junk up
- All modern nations depend on all kinds of satellites to operate, meaning they should be protected
- Space Junk does have the potential to make space travel too unfeasible to be continued which can be catastrophic
- The US doesnt have to fund this all by itself, other nations and the private sector could chip in and have reason to
- There are potentially inexpensive ways to clean up all the space junk
- If Space junk continues to be left unchecked it will certainly become a problem
- There wouldnt be international issues since theres no reason to not have another nation remove its space junk since its junk and completely worthless
- Space junk has the potential to destroy satellites, space stations, and even kill Astronauts themselves with impeccable aim
- Other nations have already started programs to clean up space junk as well, meaning the US isnt the one who has to handle everything on its own
lannan13

Con

1) Kessler Syndrome + Costs

However what my opponent is missing is the fact that I brought up last round where Kessler himself that the Kessler syndrome is over exaggerated and is highly unlikely. Thus meaning that your point is invalid through the fact that he has reccanted his own theory.

However my opponent brings up more grey area with his arguement but I'll cite somemore evidense here.

The aff isn’t going to solve – only enforceable international treaties can actually solve security.

Black and Butt 10 (Samuel and Yousaf, research associate at the Henry L. Stimson Center and staff scientist in the High-Energy Astrophysics Division at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics that is currently on leave at the National Academy of Sciences, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, The growing threat of space debris, March 2010, Vol. 66 Issue 2, p1-8, SP)

Luckily, recognition of the space debris issue is now widespread, and many countries have expressed a willingness to take steps to address it. China’s 2000 White Paper on Space Activities, for example, stated, “[Beijing will] continuously make efforts to explore, together with other countries, ways and means to mitigate and reduce space debris, and promote international cooperation on this issue.”24 India’s delegation promised in 2007 its “full support and cooperation” with COPUOS’s efforts to prevent space debris.25 The U.S., French, and Pakistani delegations all made similar statements in support of efforts to mitigate space debris at COPUOS meetings in 2007.26 In addition, a number of diplomatic initiatives have been proposed to address the long-term debris consequences of destructive ASAT weapons. China and Russia have submitted a draft treaty at the U.N. Conference on Disarmament that would seek to prevent the placement, or use, of weapons in outer space.27 The U.S. government and many independent experts, however, feel that the draft treaty has serious flaws—e.g., the absence of prohibitions on the research, development, and deployment of ground-based ASATs (such as the one tested by China) and the absence of any verification measures.28 Another initiative is a European Union–sponsored voluntary code of conduct that addresses issues such as space-traffic management, debris mitigation, and destructive ASAT testing. By agreeing to certain rules, states would clarify responsible and irresponsible actions, facilitating responses to the latter, which would include debris-creating events.29 But China, Russia, and others have expressed a desire for a legally binding agreement, a condition that the European Union code does not satisfy. A third initiative is a narrowly focused proposal that would ban destructive testing against space objects. Such a treaty would directly address a pernicious source of space debris without approaching many of the contentious issues entailed in the more comprehensive approach taken by China and Russia. The idea was broached at a 2008 workshop organized by the Henry L. Stimson Center (where one of the authors of this article is employed), but no country has formally endorsed it.30 No international consensus exists on which of these approaches would enhance space security the most. China and Russia remain publicly committed to a comprehensive, legally binding treaty. The European Union is conducting rounds of consultations with other spacefaring nations on its code of conduct. And discussions on the narrow treaty proposal have so far been largely academic. It is unfortunate that at present, an international agreement addressing the largest potential source of debris, destructive ASAT tests, does not appear to be forthcoming. Without it, international security and the use of space are under threat.


2) Orion and Catchers Mitt

I guess I'll defend against these, but most of the technology here that my opponent brings up isn't fessible like the roberts and the water wall or illegal which I have brought up before. Lassers are illegal to use in space. Thus meaning that what my opponent is planning on having the US preform is illegal. The reason that the private sector is doing better is because they are better than the Public sector where they aren't weighed down by the corrupt government.

http://online.wsj.com...;, http://www.msnbc.msn.com...

My opponent also over looks the fact that a lot of space junk belongs to the former USSR so that means we have to go and ask all the nations that use to make up the USSR inorder to remove their space junk.

So in conclusion you'll be voting Con for the following reasons.
-It's illegal on various level
-If such plan is implament we'll lose money which we can't afford.
- Kessler admitted himself that the Kessler Syndrome is over exaggerated
- Space Junk is not a problem
-Most of the legal clean up plans aren't fessible
-Russia, China, and the EU won't like such a program.
Debate Round No. 3
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by drafterman 4 years ago
drafterman
-- cont'd

Rebuttal 1 - It is illegal to clean up space junk
Support: International law prevents US from cleaning up other nation's junk (sourced)
- Refutation: Cleaning permitted with consent (sourced)

Summary: Sourced, supported, but also refuted. Oddly, though, Con supports the notion of international cooperation, thus undermining his rebuttal of illegality.

Rebuttal 2 - Feasibility of existing programs
Support: Orion & Catcher's mitt; not cost effective (sourced)
- Refutation: Those are only the two most expensive (sourced)
-- Resupport: Other options are also not feasible and/or illegal (sourced)
- Refutation: Funds exist in other areas that could be devoted to clean up (unsourced)

Summary: Another contentious point, with support and sources on both sides. However, Pro's areas here mainly lie in the hypothetical, where as Con's was rooted in the actual.

====

Overall Summary: All of Pro's points were either uncontested or more strongly supported. Con undermines one of his own rebuttals, but the other still stands. Overall, the arguments go to Pro.
Posted by drafterman 4 years ago
drafterman
Point 1 - There is a lot of space junk
Support: 19,000 pieces (sourced)
Support: Rapid growth (sourced, appears in point 3)

Summary: This point is supported, sourced, uncontested. Thus, Con concedes a lot of spacejunk exists and is growing rapidly.

Point 2 - Cost can be mitigated
Support: Other nations would pitch in (unsourced)
Support: Other nations already pitching in (sourced)
Support: Private sector would pitch in (unsourced)
Support: Private sector already working on solutions (sourced)

Summary: This point is supported, partially sourced, and uncontested. Thus, Con concedes that the cost and effort can be allayed through assistance from private industry and other countries; the level of effort for the United States is reduced.

Point 3 - Presents threat to existing satellites
Support: Threatens existing satellites (sourced, appears in point 1)
Support: Large and fast (sourced)

Summary: This point is supported, sourced, and uncontested. Thus, Con concedes that space debris does pose a threat to satellites.

Point 4 - Kessler Syndrome
Support: A possibility (sourced)
- Refutation: Worst case an exaggeration (sourced)
-- Resupport: Despite exaggeration, threat of debris still affirmed (sourced)

Summary: This was a highly argued point, with support and refutations on either side, both sourced. However, only the "worst-case" scenario was judged to be an exaggeration. The increasing economic barrier to space travel, however, was still affirmed by Kessler, and admitted to by Con (if only by his choice to quote that). Furthermore, an exaggeration is not a recantation to the degree described by Con.

Point 5 - Other benefits
Support: Job creation (unsourced)

Summary: This is unsourced, but also unrefuted. I think it stands to reason that the creation of any program would create jobs as well.

-- to be continued
Posted by Zaradi 4 years ago
Zaradi
---are interested in cleaning up the space sh*t, but Lannan's point about it being illegal to clean it up if it isn't your junk is also pretty solid. In the end, I do have to give the advantage to imabench on the point that it can be made legal if the nations give their consent to have their sh*t cleaned up for them, and I never saw a response to that point from Lannan anywhere on the flow. And with other nations trying to come up with a way to do it, I don't see any reason why they wouldn't give consent.

So, at the end of the day I end up voting pro based on the fact that he provides us with cheap-ish methods that promise results and the ability to get international cooperation while Lannan isn't doing enough work to stop these or turn any sort of offense of his own.

Again, good debate. If you have any questions, just message me or something.
Posted by Zaradi 4 years ago
Zaradi
Pretty good debate on both sides. I think that there were areas that both debaters could've done better, but it was a pretty good debate overall. I'm going to scroll down the talking points individually and then I'll give my decision at the end.

On the Kessler Syndrome debate, I end up not buying the impact of some massive apocolyptic destruction because of a) the massive improbability of it, b) Lannan's argument that Kessler himself admitted that it was a little too crazy, and c) imabench you kinda admitted afterward that even if he was right then it could still do damage and it could still be a problem, even if the impact wasn't massive. But I feel like in order for you to actually get an impact going your way off of this point your impact kind of has to be big, and the concession to minimize it from the apocolyptic standard to just some broken sattelites here and there ruins the point from having any credence.

The only problem with this side of the debate is that Lannan doesn't turn any sort of offense off of this. Maybe if the character limit was more he could've gone for some sort of turn with a technology bad argument or a "we don't need to go into space, so it's okay if all the sattelites block us from going". So while I don't count it as offense for imabench, I can't give any sort of offense for Lannan either since he's not making any sort of offensive turn to the argument to try and get it into his side of the flow.

On the methods debate, I give this one to imabench. I think the idea to front-line out some of the more known methods by Lannan was smart, but he didn't cover himself from the lesser known ones, and when imabench used them as alternative methods to de-link himself from the bad impacts and infeasability impacts of Lannan's evidence, Lannan's attacks on those were really weak and blippy. So I end up looking to the aff for methods.

On the legality point, it gets a little muddy. I like that imabench is trying to say that other people a
Posted by Zaradi 4 years ago
Zaradi
Homework or voting. Homework or voting.

Yolo. Lemme re-read this and ill vote.
Posted by lannan13 4 years ago
lannan13
I want to win the debate, but not via vote bombs
Posted by makhdoom5 4 years ago
makhdoom5
oh man i was wondering how these satellites are gonna destroyed.
loll.
there is natural phenomenon to destroy and unnatural phenomenon.
i am saying this because it is said the humans will again go back to stone ages but i always wonder how this tech gonna neutralize so i found information through which nature is going to balance itself.
i hate unnatural things coz they are destroying echo system.
theses rays are so bad which are now a days are surrounding us. like the rays from mobiles towers and also from satellites.
benefits are less and harms are more..
Posted by imabench 4 years ago
imabench
Also leojm, youre vote doesnt seem to be based on any of the actual arguments presented at all in the debate and instead seems to be based almost exclusively off of your opinion regarding the national debt.
Posted by imabench 4 years ago
imabench
It was supposed to be 4 rounds and I thought I made it that way when I sent the debate but I only made it three for some weird reason.
Posted by leojm 4 years ago
leojm
Yeah, I agree with DakotaKrafick, there should be more than 3 rounds. Do you even know how many rounds and character count in the tournaments?
8 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Vote Placed by drafterman 4 years ago
drafterman
imabenchlannan13Tied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: See comments for RFD. Con also had some spelling and formatting issues.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 4 years ago
Ragnar
imabenchlannan13Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Spelling: That last round became painful due to formatting issues. Argument was very close, but I am not voting on it as I felt it leaned a little too much on the sources (con was bringing up needed points, which were on the sources instead of the argument). However I was convinced of the need for small action; as the earth itself slowly cleans it up, we should be cautious in what and how much we send up there (yes this favors pro, but by way of semantics).
Vote Placed by Zaradi 4 years ago
Zaradi
imabenchlannan13Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by innomen 4 years ago
innomen
imabenchlannan13Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Slight edge to Bench. International involvement was the push from my end.
Vote Placed by vmpire321 4 years ago
vmpire321
imabenchlannan13Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro claims that junk exists, not really a contested argument. Pro also says that the junk will hinder future space programs and possibly lead to an apocalyptic event. Con's overall arguments are that it would cost too much money (not really a voting issue b/c there isn't a big impact) and we need the help of other countries. Overall, cleaning junk up will benefit everybody and the future, so Pro has the long term impacts. There is no timeframe involved in this debate, so I don't know when the program will be implemented. Pro wins.
Vote Placed by ClassicRobert 4 years ago
ClassicRobert
imabenchlannan13Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Countering danielawesome12.
Vote Placed by danielawesome12 4 years ago
danielawesome12
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Reasons for voting decision: 1. It's far too much money to spend, besides why should only the U.S. act.
Vote Placed by leojm 4 years ago
leojm
imabenchlannan13Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con did a better job in presenting his argument. You both have good sources. Also in my opinion, that would be a big waist of money, as if we are not in enough debt already. Plus NASA does not have the funds right now. But Pro this was a great subject to bring up. If we weren't in so much debt, this would have been a great idea.