No, I am talking about space being so thick with leftover satellite bits you can barely go a single orbit without getting holed by some random space crap.
Ordinarily, I'm as ready to panic as anybody over any doomsday scenario proposed by scientists and trumpeted by the media, from super volcanoes to a fresh ice age to getting whomped by a comet that started eyeballing us from the Oort Cloud the day after Moses was born, but I'm not going to start hyperventilating over this one yet.
The experts warned that there were now over 500,000 pieces of space junk orbiting our planet courtesy of mankind, mostly nuts, bolts and flecks of paint, mixed in with the very occasional astronaut diaper.
Now, 500,000 pieces of space junk sounds like a lot, but if humanity had only ever produced 500,000 pieces of junk in its history and spread it around on Earth, you probably couldn't find any of it if you dedicated your life to the search. And space is bigger than Earth. Unimaginably bigger. True, most of our space junk is scrabbling around in the immediate neighborhood of our planet like bugs on a mattress, but still, let's not have a heart attack over it. There are almost 500,000 pieces of man made junk in my garage, from the looks of it. I know they are not orbiting around at 17,500 miles an hour, but I can't seem to get it organized anyway. There are 500,000 cars on the Santa Monica Freeway at any given time. Some of them collide, but the majority of them don't, despite most of their drivers being busy texting and eating sushi. In space terms 500,000 is not that big of a number, but these experts are still trying to guilt us into cleaning it up.
I'm not going there. Anybody can screw up the immediate planet. I could spend my days tossing six-pack rings off the pier, for example, or squashing lizards with my quad-runner. But I can't mess up space. It's too hard to get there. You need to be a modern nation with a budget deficit big enough so that if you spend a few billion spewing crap all over the universe like a sloppy picnicker none of your citizens will notice it and complain, if you even let your citizens complain.
That's not me. The second problem is that you can't get rid of space junk just by blowing it up. That creates more, if somewhat smaller, pieces of space junk. If you can't get rid of a problem by blowing it up most people, especially men, are just not that interested in solving it. Compare a problem you can't solve by just blowing it up (your favorite baseball team's bullpen being a collection of rag-arms) to one you can (North Korea) to any group of guys at a sports bar and you'll see which one generates a unanimous opinion first.
So don't be telling me we need to build a fleet of huge spaceships, paint "WM" on their sides and blast them into orbit to pick things up. We've only been shooting stuff into space for sixty years or so. It would be like getting worried about global warming five minutes after the discovery of fire. Let's get space good and overpopulated first, until we're all living in orbit and patching up holes in our space colonies gets to be a drag on the galactic budget. Then we'll build those space trash trucks. And when they start running, the good part will be that just as no one can hear you scream in space, no one with a hangover will have to listen to their empty beer bottles being uploaded at 6:30 in the morning by the space recyclers.
That'll be nice.