United Nations announced that the world’s population will reach 7 billion in the next few days.
The 7 billion stage comes just 12 years since the total world population reached 6 billion and the official estimates show the figure will top 8 billion in 2025 and 10 billion before the end of the 21st century.
United Nations also said that it is most likely the baby will be born in the Asia-Pacific region, where the population growth rate is higher than anywhere else in the world.
According to experts, the pace of growth – which has seen the number of people on the planet triple since 1940 – poses an increasing danger to citizens.
Experts said that will be more people to feed, an increasing need for houses and for medical services, while world’s resources look set to come under more strain than ever before.
Evolution of the world's population
As populations stabilize in the industrial world, almost all growth in the near future is expected to take place in developing countries.
United Nations believes that of the 2.3 billion people will be added by 2050, more than 1 billion will live in sub-Saharan Africa and that the Indian subcontinent will add some 630 million people.
Less land and water will be available for each person and poorer people, who tend to depend more on natural resources, will bear the brunt as they will not be able to compete with the rich.
The biggest world problem will be how to feed the new people.
Ageing populations are also a big issue for some industrial countries, such as Japan, nearly doubling its share of the population aged 65 and over in the past 20 years.
This will be reflected in increased pressure on pension and healthcare systems.
World population in 2010
The United Nations report states: “Another two billion people may be added to the world population by mid-century, many of them in places where hunger, poverty, and environmental degradation are already taking a high toll.
“Supporting the world’s human population will mean eliminating poverty, transitioning to an economy that is in sync with the earth, and securing every person’s health, education, and reproductive choice.
“If we do not voluntarily stabilize population, we risk a much less humane end to growth as the ongoing destruction of the earth’s natural systems catches up with us.”
According to Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, the 7th billion child of the world has a better chance of surviving past the age of 5 than 10 years ago.
The life expectancy for both women and men has also increased in every Asian and Pacific country during the last 10 years, Dr. Noeleen Heyzer added
In 2011, the pace of development is 1.1%, meaning an extra 78 million people will live on the planet by the end of this year, but it has slowed down slightly from its peak of 2% in 1968.
The dead satellite fell into a part of the southern Pacific Ocean about as far from large land masses as you can get, NASA officials said on Tuesday.
NASA calculations put the 6-tonne satellite‘s death plunge early Saturday thousands of miles from northwestern North America, where there were reports of sightings.
Instead, the satellite plunged into areas where remote islands dot a vast ocean.
NASA says those new calculations show the 20-year-old satellite entered Earth’s atmosphere generally above American Samoa.
But falling debris as the satellite broke apart did not start hitting the water for another 300 miles to the northeast, southwest of Christmas Island, just after midnight EDT Saturday.
The satellite fell to Earth on Saturday morning, with debris landing in remote parts of the Pacific Ocean
Experts believe about two dozen metal pieces from the bus-sized satellite fell over a 500-mile span.
“It’s a relatively uninhabited portion of the world, very remote,” NASA orbital debris scientist Mark Matney said.
“This is certainly a good spot in terms of risk.”
Scientists who track space junk couldn’t be happier with the result.
“That’s the way it should be. I think that’s perfect,” said Bill Ailor, director of the Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies at the Aerospace Corp.
“It’s just as good as it gets.”
Last Saturday, scientists said it was possible some pieces could have reached northwestern Canada and claims of sightings in Canada spread on the Internet.
However, NASA said Tuesday that new calculations show the satellite landed several minutes earlier than they thought, changing the debris field to an entirely different hemisphere.
“It just shows you the difference that 10 or 15 minutes can make,” said Harvard University astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell, who tracks man-made space objects. On Saturday, he noted: “We were talking about, <<Wow, did it hit Seattle?>>”
NASA won’t say how it knows the climate research satellite came in earlier, referring questions to the U.S. Air Force space operations centre.
Air Force spokeswoman Julie Ziegenhorn said better computer model reconstruction after the satellite fell helped pinpoint where the satellite (Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite) returned to Earth.
After UARS was launched in 1991, NASA and other space agencies adopted new procedures to lessen space junk and satellites falling back to Earth. So NASA has no more satellites as large as this one that will fall back to Earth uncontrolled in the next 25 years, according to NASA orbital debris chief scientist Nicholas Johnson.
But other satellites will continue to fall. Late in October, or early in November, a German astronomy satellite is set to plunge uncontrolled back to Earth.
While slightly smaller than UARS, the German satellite is expected to have more pieces survive re-entry, said Jonathan McDowell, who worked on one of the instruments for it.
The German ROSAT satellite was launched in 1990, died in 1998 and weighs 2 ½ tons. The German space agency figures 30 pieces weighing less than 2 tons will survive re-entry. Debris may include sharp mirror shards.
The German space agency puts the odds of somebody somewhere on Earth being hurt by its satellite at 1-in-2,000 – a slightly higher level of risk than was calculated for the NASA satellite. But any one individual’s odds of being struck are 1-in-14trillion, given there are 7 billion people on the planet.
NASA’s decommissioned Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) hit the Earth last night.
NASA’s Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite UPDATES: “The Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California said the satellite entered the atmosphere over the North Pacific Ocean, off the west coast of the United States. The precise re-entry time and location of any debris impacts are still being determined. NASA is not aware of any reports of injury or property damage.” NASA wrote at 2:37 p.m. EDT (6:37 p.m. UTC).
UPDATE: “Because of the satellite’s orbit, any surviving components of UARS should have landed within a zone between 57 degrees north latitude and 57 degrees south latitude. It is impossible to pinpoint just where in that zone the debris landed, but NASA estimates the debris footprint to be about 500 miles [804.7 kilometers] long.”
UPDATE: “We extend our appreciation to the Joint Space Operations Center for monitoring UARS not only this past week but also throughout its entire 20 years on orbit,” said Nick Johnson, NASA’s chief scientist for orbital debris, at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “This was not an easy re-entry to predict because of the natural forces acting on the satellite as its orbit decayed. Space-faring nations around the world also were monitoring the satellite’s descent in the last two hours and all the predictions were well within the range estimated by JSpOC.”
UPDATE: “DoD’s Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg AFB, CA, has assessed that NASA’s Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite reentered the atmosphere sometime between 0323 and 0509 GMT on 24 September. During this period the satellite passed over Canada, the African continent, and the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The mid-point of that ground-track and a possible reentry location is 31 N latitude and 219 E longitude.”
The $750 million satellite, weighing six tons, first penetrated Earth’s atmosphere somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it all fell into the sea, said NASA and the U.S. Air Force’s Joint Space Operations Center.
“NASA’s decommissioned Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite fell back to Earth between 11:23 p.m. EDT Friday [3:23 a.m UTC Saturday], Sept. 23 and 1:09 a.m. EDT [05:09 a.m. UTC Saturday] Sept. 24. The Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California said the satellite penetrated the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean. The precise re-entry time and location are not yet known with certainty,” NASA said.
NASA's satellite "penetrated the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean". Where the satellite landed is not known precisely yet.
NASA’s earlier calculations had predicted that the former climate research satellite, launched in 1991, would fall over a 500 miles (804.7 kilometers) swath and could include land.
The plummet began over the ocean and there was a lack of reports of people being hit, “gives us a good feeling that no one was hurt,” but officials didn’t know for certain, Steve Cole, NASA spokesman, told The Associated Press.
“In the entire 50-plus-year history of the space program, no person has ever been injured by a piece of re-entering space debris. Keep in mind we have bits of debris re-entering the atmosphere every single day.” said Mark Matney, orbital debris scientist at NASA.
There were hypotheses on the Internet and Twitter, much of them centered on unconfirmed reports and even video of debris over Alberta, Canada.
That was possible because the last track for the satellite included Canada, starting north of Seattle and then in a large arc north then south, Steve Cole said. The track continued through the Atlantic south toward Africa, but it is hard to belive that satellite got that far if it started falling over the Pacific.
The surviving chunks of the satellite include titanium fuel tanks, beryllium housing and stainless-steel batteries and wheel rims.
“No consideration ever was given to shooting it down,” NASA said.
The craft contains no fuel and so is not expected to explode on impact, and NASA also said on Twitter that talk of “flaming space debris” was a “myth“.
“Pieces of UARS landing on earth will not be very hot. Heating stops 36km up, cools after that,” NASA said. The satellite contains nothing radioactive but its metal fragments could be sharp.
The U.S. space agency has warned anyone who comes across what they believe may be the satellite’s debris not to touch it but to contact authorities for assistance.
“Any pieces of UARS found are still the property of the country that made it. You’ll have to give ’em back to U.S.” NASA wrote on Twitter.
“Should the public come across debris they believe to be from the downed satellite, they should alert the authorities, or the authorities may come after them.” said Robert Pearl, space artifacts expert .
Some lucky sky-watchers in Florida were able to catch a glimpse of the defunct satellite as it circled the Earth before its final descent.
NASA awaits more details from the Air Force, that was responsible for tracking debris, but where the satellite might have fallen, officials could never know precisely.
“Most space debris is in the ocean. It’ll be hard to confirm,” Steve Cole said.
The chart shows the predicted entry of the satellite point, based on data from U.S. Strategic Command.(William Harwood/MacDoppler Pro)
The satellite had 35 feet (10.7 meters) and some 26 fragments of the satellite representing 1,200 pounds (544.31 kilograms) of heavy metal had been expected to fall down. The biggest surviving chunk should be no more than 300 pounds (136 kilograms).
Space law professor Frans von der Dunk from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln told AFP that the US would likely have to pay damages to any country where the debris falls.
“Liability for damage caused by space debris is regulated by a 1972 international treaty that the U.S. has signed on to,”NASA wrote on Twitter.
The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite is the biggest NASA spacecraft to crash back to Earth, uncontrolled, since the Skylab space station and the Pegasus 2 satellite (1979).
Russia’s 135-ton Mir space station hit the Earth in 2001, but it was a controlled dive into the Pacific.
No one had ever been hit by falling space junk and NASA expected that not to change. NASA put the chances that somebody somewhere on Earth would get hurt at 1-in-3,200, a person’s odds of being struck were estimated at 1-in-22 trillion, since there are 7 billion people on the planet.
The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite ran out of fuel in 2005, it was built and launched before NASA and other nations started new programs that prevent this type of uncontrolled crashes of satellite.
“It was the first multi-instrumented satellite to observe numerous chemical components of the atmosphere for better understanding of photochemistry. UARS data marked the beginning of many long-term records for key chemicals in the atmosphere. The satellite also provided key data on the amount of light that comes from the sun at ultraviolet and visible wavelengths,” Beth Dickey and Steve Cole wrote.