FRED AN­SWERS YOUR QUES­TIONS

Could you dump our un­wanted waste into the Sun?

Australian Geographic - - Geobuzz - Len Grant, Rozelle, NSW

This is a tempt­ing idea, par­tic­u­larly where nu­clear waste is con­cerned, but it’s be­set with problems. The most fun­da­men­tal is that drop­ping any­thing into the Sun means it has to be placed in an or­bit that will in­ter­sect the so­lar sur­face, and that re­quires a huge amount of en­ergy. The space­craft has to lose most of the Earth’s or­bital speed of 30 km/sec­ond by fir­ing its rock­ets against the Earth’s mo­tion, and would then use at least one grav­ity-assisted fly-by of another planet. It looks as if we’re stuck with our rub­bish, at least for now.

If you have a space ques­tion for Fred, email it to ed­i­to­[email protected]­geo.com.au

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