Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Sun spots

Letters

An often-asked question, repeated in Letters last week, is: 'Why don't we get rid of our waste products, including nuclear, into the sun?' The Sun's gravitational pull on the earth is balanced by centrifugal force as the earth circles in its orbit at a distance of about 90M miles. That is, the Earth travels about 285M miles in a year or 32,500 miles per hour along its orbit. Before any such waste matter in an earth orbit can 'fall' into the Sun, we have to kill the centrifugal force by slowing the orbital speed of the waste to zero.

That is the same thing as launching the waste from earth at a speed of 32,500mph, much greater than the effort of sending it to the Moon.

Anything less and the expelled waste will go into some intermediate solar orbit and add to the pollution of space, which is already a feature of low satellite orbits around the earth.

Provided such waste is launched from near the Equator, we do 'save' about 1,200mph by using the rotational speed of the earth about its own axis, so perhaps we should look to tropical countries for a lead here.

Chris May (M), Woodbine Farm, High Street, Chew Magna, Bristol BS40 8PW

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.