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A new Chicken Little report: The mega satellite constellations are going to destroy the ozone layer!

The American Geophysical Union, where science is no longer practiced
The American Geophysical Union, where
science is no longer practiced

We’re all gonna die! According to a new paper touted today by the PR department of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), a new study has concluded — based on computer modeling — that the many giant satellite constellations totaling tens of thousands of satellites pose a risk to the ozone layer because the aluminium used in their structures that gets vaporized upon re-entry will interact with the ozone layer and destroy it.

You can read the paper here. From the abstract:

This paper investigates the oxidation process of the satellite’s aluminum content during atmospheric reentry utilizing atomic-scale molecular dynamics simulations. We find that the population of reentering satellites in 2022 caused a 29.5% increase of aluminum in the atmosphere above the natural level, resulting in around 17 metric tons of aluminum oxides injected into the mesosphere. The byproducts generated by the reentry of satellites in a future scenario where mega-constellations come to fruition can reach over 360 metric tons per year. As aluminum oxide nanoparticles may remain in the atmosphere for decades, they can cause significant ozone depletion.

The uncertainties and biases here are hard to count. First, it is a computer model (“Garbage in, garbage out”). Second, the simulations make many assumptions, most of which cannot be confirmed, or are simply absurd. For example, the model is based on a single “typcial, small satellite” coming from a specific orbit and elevation when we know these satellites will have many variations in size, make-up, and orbits. Third, the scientists admit they use “a worst-case scenario” for determining what would happen when the satellite re-enters the atmosphere.

Finally, and most damning, the whole premise of this threat is based on a somewhat implausive chain of chemical actions.

Aluminum oxides … don’t react chemically with ozone molecules, instead triggering destructive reactions between ozone and chlorine that deplete the ozone layer. Because aluminum oxides are not consumed by these chemical reactions, they can continue to destroy molecule after molecule of ozone for decades as they drift down through the stratosphere.

In other words, the vaporised aluminum oxides have to somehow trigger chlorine to react with ozone. This is the same game the global warming climate models use, since there is absolutely too little CO2 in the atmosphere (even with the increase due to fossil fuels) to warm the climate. Instead, the CO2 will somehow trigger the water in the atmosphere (the atmosphere’s primary global warming component) to warm the climate. This theory has yet to be proven, but it is treated like a sacred text by the climate science community that must never be questioned.

My sense is this paper was conceived and published as part of the full-court press by the very partisan and leftist science community against Elon Musk and his companies (for his willingness to express opposition to the Democratic Party’s political agenda), and the entire satellite industry because of its existence threatens ground-based astronomy.

While it is a good thing to consider these factors because satellite builders can then take action to reduce the problem, the sense I get from this paper and especially the press release is that they are not aimed at providing guidance, but on creating ammunition for banning these satellites. I have previously noted how the AGU’s press department has especially become a press agent for global warming advocacy rather than a science organization interested in promoting the search for knowledge. This new press release only enforces that impression.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.


The print edition can be purchased at Amazon. Or you can buy it directly from the author and get an autographed copy.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

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"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • john hare

    Oxidized aluminum becomes AL2O3, a solid with a molecular weight of 100. I want corroborating evidence that it lingers at altitude.

  • Just to be safe, we better stop all space exploration and end the satellite industry.

    “The West is a woman to be mounted”

    Just to be safe.

  • Max

    “In 2022, the total mass of reentering objects was estimated to be 332.5 metric tons (ESA, 2023), a 21% increase from the previous year, with 93% of that mass originated from LEO. “

    “ As for natural sources, meteoroids enter the atmosphere at an average rate of over 11,750 metric tons per year (Drolshagen et al., 2017).”

    I wonder if we will ever put enough mass into space to equal what comes in naturally from meteorites?

    Is there any their there?

    Not to mention the billions of tons of methane and ammonia in every CME solar storm that lights up our skies from the Ozone burning/oxidizing the solar methane making carbon dioxide and water. A reaction that is hard to see on your stove or furnace at home because the flame is not very bright, and yet massive enough to be seen from the ground from 50 miles away!
    You can see as the color changes in the burning process going from monoatomic in the upper atmosphere to ozone and normal oxygen in the stratosphere. There probably isn’t any ozone left during the length of the storm.
    As this process continues, we’re about 1 billion years away from becoming Waterworld as our atmosphere continues to collect the solar gases. (“O-NO!”)

    Remember how large our atmosphere is and the chemical reactions that are taking place daily. Sunlight UV breaks apart oxygen to make Ozone. (The proof of this is the blue sky) To deplete the ozone layer, you must either extinguish the sun… Or remove all oxygen from our atmosphere. As long as these two things exist, “Ozone will form”.
    There’s two major items that deplete Ozone. (besides the Solar CME)
    The first is “ozone”. When 2 ozone (O3) molecules collide they give up energy reforming into three normal O2 molecules. The upside maximum before Ozone is destroying itself as fast as it’s being created is about 10 ppm. (That’s 10 molecules out of 1 million or about 400 Dobson units?) At night the level drops to 3 ppm before it’s re-created the next day. and the next day, and the next day forever.

    The second ozone depletion is caused by Nitrogen. It makes up 80% of our atmosphere, UV also breaks it apart more abundantly than oxygen creating compounds of nitrogen including nitrous oxide. (There was a debate at one time to call the “ozone layer” the “nitrous oxide Layer” because of its abundance).
    Watch time lapse photography from the space station as the sun goes down. The sky turns from blue to green… This is the atmosphere giving up it’s energy reverting back to normal nitrogen and oxygen before the reaction freezes from the cold of space. At that point, the sky remains black.

    We have a massive dynamic atmosphere that cannot be threatened by small rare occurrences. Tempest in a teapot? More like chicken little claiming the sky is falling! But of course chicken little has a point… Especially when that point is the end of a gun being backed and forced, despite it being a fantasy, by the federal government and a bunch of power crazy people that will make up any story to back a made up scenario that maintains the taxes for a unsustainable lifestyle. When the Jim Jones government loses it’s power, will you drink the Government mandated Kool-Aid? Perhaps we already have. Congress has been drilling Fauci just last week in an ongoing political theater meant for our distraction and entertainment.
    Gold, bread, and circuses… The Romans perfected it. It’ll take another dark age before we get it right again. sorry about the rant.

  • Max

    Earth from space, 47 minute long screen saver? It’s just beautiful scenes of earth from the station. Observe the blue sky turning red as light bends through the atmosphere then it turns dark green to brownish. Beautiful northern lights as bright green with red sprites in the monoatomic outer atmosphere.

  • John

    Obviously you don’t know The Science. Ozone depletion has already worked, it’s proven.

  • Andi

    There’s chlorine in the ozone layer?

  • Joe

    Despite the fear mongering from this report, it is still a good idea to have as minimal a footprint on the environment. There are too many unknowns to not be a bit cautious until the science catches up.

    With a multitude of manufacturing techniques, the metal content can be reduced. Quub does this in our satellites by using 3D manufacturing. Less than 10% of our satellites are metals (under 200 grams). The bulk of that is the copper traces in the circuit boards and the steel reaction wheels.

    With care, it is possible to create business opportunities that are both cheaper and environmentally responsible. It is sad that the world seems to to think that junk science will somehow convince people to abandon progress.

  • Max

    Just blame Trump for the satellites conducting atmospheric research.
    Like covering most of the planet with water to reflect the light back in the space? (No silly, Chem trails but they call it clouds)
    The people on this website have sampled the atmosphere and have found aluminum oxide.

    25 years ago I asked refinery workers, “what is in the jet exhaust?” (I am in the same union) they said Congress mandated the elimination of regular fuel making unleaded gasoline all that’s available. An extra step in the refining process to remove all the sulfur that was causing photochemical sulfuric acid smog in all the cities especially LA. They did not know what to do with the sulfur and benzene byproducts, so they dumped it in red fuel for farming equipment/off-road use, and in jet fuel increasing the duration of the burn rate enhancing thrust.
    The parts per million is outside the EPA’s ability to measure so high in the atmosphere and dispersed over such a large area. The refinery also admitted to taking waste products from manufacturing, mixing in emulsifiers in measured small amounts for incineration disposal in the jet fuel.

    John said;
    Obviously you don’t know The Science. Ozone depletion has already worked, it’s proven

    I’m not sure what that means, ozone is so rare in the atmosphere that they had to come up with the new way to measure it called Dobson units, Ozone in a column of air from the ground to the stratosphere amounts to the thickness of a dime. Ozone is a slightly larger 03 unstable temporary molecule occurring in such rare amounts that it protects the earth from literally ”nothing”. It is actually just proof that our N2-O2 atmosphere is protecting us from solar radiation by its byproduct presence. (03 larger size can block up to UV-A sunlight, but only in proportion to its amount or availability. At 10 ppm that’s 10 Air molecules out of 1 million. Statistically unimportant in the extreme.)
    (not as rare as helium at 5 ppm, or methane at 1.8 ppm)

    Remember chlorofluorocarbon? The molecule that’s destroying the ozone layer? Five times heavier than air, sinks into dirt end the depths of the ocean. (They discovered it handy to track ocean currents). Molecularly stable to 2000° which would require the molecule to rise into outer space to be broken apart, then return/descend without touching any hydrogen (because chlorine and hydrogen are extremely reactive) back down to 60,000 feet stratospheric ozone layer to cause all it’s Mayhem.

    So the question has to be asked, is that even possible?

    Especially with an ocean full of chlorine salts releasing free chlorine gas that is much lighter and has factors of magnitude more abundance/accessibility? Apparently they didn’t think this through very well or they would’ have banned free chlorine in drinking water, swimming pools, and washing machines.
    The price the Freon jumped 10 times it’s previous cost with Dupont making a killing eliminating the competition. Politicians and the sierra club received huge donations as company write off’s.

    We are saved!
    “”Earth’s ozone layer, once damaged with holes created by harmful chemicals, is on track to heal completely in mere decades, marking a huge victory in addressing climate change.””

    Thanks to Swift and decisive action, planet is healing. If they can only find a way to get rid of billions of those chemical using humans. Then will be safe to worry about “Sky is falling” meteorites.
    Never mind that the ozone hole is at the end of the earth and how it’s parallel to the sun, light passes above and below it but not through it. Far more likely that UV rays bounces off the ice cap to be reflected up through it.

    50 years of observation has concluded that it is a seasonal phenomenon due to 6 months of “no sunlight” to make stratospheric ozone…
    And the collection of solar gases in “stratospheric clouds” that burn off with the first rays of spring, (September) neutralizing what little highly reactive ozone there is, until the clouds are gone in mid October. Then ozone levels becomes normal until next year. With 24 hour sunlight in the summer the pole’s actually have above normal ozone creation/retention depending on stratospheric air movement.
    And to wonder how people actually believed that they were responsible for a natural event thousands of miles away from the nearest smokestack or air conditioning unit. No wonder our betters have gotten away with the climate fraud for so long, people just don’t think. We are all “robots”.
    Atlas goes all electric. creepy. (purchased by Hyundai) 10min

  • Robert

    My solution. Build a salvage yard in LEO. Gather up all the old satellites, and rocket booster, take them to the salvage yard. There, you have a very large thick sack, and inside of this sack, you have a stripping machine. It strips the satellites, and rocket boosters apart. You then melt them down. You could build space station modules with the metals, but I just a Mobile Work Cage.

    Astronauts would work inside of these cages. They would be in the shape of a dome, or a sphere. If they lose a tool, or part, then no problem. That tool, or part would be inside the cage. MWC would look like a giant screen. With very small spaces.

    After you run out of old satellites, and rocket boosters, you then start using metals mined on the Moon.

  • wayne

    Are these the same people who want solar panels orbiting the earth to beam electricity to the surface?

  • Steve Richter

    Once Starship is flying as frequently as Elon says it will I think the environmentalists will target those flights as damaging to the atmosphere.

  • Max

    Ha, Wayne… Good stuff.
    Use the spent useless solar panels to make Roberts workshop.
    Disassembly of satellites in a space suit is extremely awkward, But toxic fuels are deadly in a confined space. That leaves remote control robotic arms, probably using chopsaw‘s to cut through for disassembly. Once the more dangerous fuel tanks and reaction parts are removed, the reusable parts stored for satellite refurbishment… it’s best to dissolve the rest in acid and separate it chemically making metal that’s 99% fine, usable for 3-D printers.
    Rotate the disassembly chamber so that any loose parts will fall into a collection chamber at the far end.
    Robert is correct, it cost millions to put the material into orbit, it will cost millions more to replace it! Much better when they can manufacture parts as needed. Astra needs a thruster? No problem, we have extras from the spent second stage booster.

    Wayne, I was wondering if you could translate something for me. Joe Rogan #2152
    Three hours long, but not boring.

  • wayne

    too many edible’s and a Host that agrees with all his guests.

    Brian Keating; Into the Impossible
    May 31, 2024
    Eric Weinstein: Terrence Howard Really Said 1 x 1 = 2?

  • Edward Lunny

    Oh good grief. Not this rubbish again and from the same anal pores. There is a solution. Sequester these idiots, every one of them, and disappear them. The how isn’t important. Saving society from these turds is.

  • Robert

    I think many of these people are against the future. They hate modern technology, and they dread the future. These people prefer a preindustrial level of technology. Say about the year 1750.

    U read an article sometime back, about certain people that make high incomes. They fly in airplanes, go on cruises, and have computers in their home, and use the internet. But, they don’t think that lower income people should be allowed to fly in airplanes, and so on. Just the upper income people.

    Some of these people, if not most, think that food is too cheap. That people should be made to pay more for their food. And I don’t think that this has anything to with saving the Earth. These people hate free markets.

    Elon Musk, and others need to keep going forward. Don’t let this group, or that group try to stop us going back to the Moon, and on ward to other parts of the solar system.
    Look at this article, and read who the experts are.

  • Robert

    A minor correction. I meant “I read an article sometime back”. Not U read an article sometime back.

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