Andrew  Do  See
Not So Big Sky
The first satellite-on-satellite crash.
On February 10th 2009 we became the FIRST generation to experience a satellite-on-satellite crash! All human artificial satellite endeavors ever (and aerial bombing) have fundamentally depended on the "big sky" principle. Though cautious scientists speak of thousands of orbiting objects, the nature of area dwarves them to insignificance, so little international coordination (which could have averted this) has historically been needed. The greatest threats are dirt and screw sized particles, and only a few unintentional collisions even on that scale have ever occurred. But in our generation, in a space HUNDREDS OF MILES DEEP with SURFACE AREA BIGGER THAN A PLANET, two machines the size of dumpsters crashed. The interesting twist is that altitude, speed, and perpendicular angles almost maximized the debris clouds, VASTLY increasing the chances of subsequent collisions. Literally thousands of killer shards travelling over 5 miles a second in orbit for decades. Expect a new attitude among concerned scientists and maybe event abatement discussions. And by the way, forget manned Mars missions in your lifetime.
Not So Big Sky (click for next photo)