Irina Tumilovich Rapsi’s article, Possible Risks of eBay of Chelyabinsk Meteorite Fragments, explores the legal aspect of selling the meteorite fragments from the meteorite that fell in Russia’s Chelyabinsk Region in mid- February. The author gives the arguments that have surrounded the controversial issue. It includes different legal views from different professionals who feel that the court as well as the Russian government should determine the sale of the fragments. Among the determining factors is the potential risk to human health due to the possible presence of radioactive elements in the fragments.
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How the article relates to earth/space
The article revolves about a space object, meteorite that landed on earth-in the Chelyabinsk Region in Russia. Meteorites are widely studied as far as geology is concerned. The determination of the specific composition of the fragments in question cannot be achieved without the expertise of a geologist. The information is essential in establishing if the meteorite fragments contain radioactive elements. If they indeed are radioactive, geologists will be among the specialists who will be establish the level of radioactivity of the fragments. Therefore, the final legal decision concerning the disposal as well as the trade of the fragments will depend on the results o rather findings of the study carried out by geologists.
The global communities as well as individual nations give much attention on the handling as well as disposal of any radioactive materials in any given environment. For instance, the U. S several state departments have been given the responsibility of ensuring that people are safe from radioactive radiation. They include the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Defense (DOD) and the Licensees of the USNRC (U. S Nuclear Regulatory Commission) and agreement states. According to the Committee on Alternatives for Controlling the Release of Solid Materials from Nuclear Regulatory Commission-Licensed Facilities, these bodies prevent any possible contamination of the environment with radioactive materials (6). The Russian government should analyze the meteorite fragments for radioactive elements. The results of the investigation can be used in making important decisions that could benefit the Russian community. The author includes a quote from one of the senior legal analysts , “ If a meteorite is not a life-threatening object, if it is not a health hazard then Article 221 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation” (7). This means that health aspect of the meteorite fragments in question are important in reaching the final decision. For instance, if the fragments contain radioactive elements, depending on the level of radioactivity of the elements, the concerned bodies/agencies will be able to take timely action on how they will be disposed effectively.
The hazards that arise from exposure to radiation fall into two categories i. e. external radiation hazard and internal radiation hazard. External radiation can be defined as the radiation which reaches a person from sources outside the body e. g. the radiation produced from a radioactive material. If such a material found its way into the human body e. g. through the food chain (by ingestion), it would cause internal radiation. The radioactive elements can also get into the body through a cut or abrasion and bring out the same effect. The radiation affects individual body cells possibly destroying most enzymes and other elements in the cell.
When the cell is exposed to radiation, the chromosomes (cell components found in the cell nucleus) are broken. The entire cell swells and the outer membrane becomes more porous. This leads to the destruction of the cell. The dead cells and other biological debris tend to clog the blood capillaries. Consequently, they interfere with the flow of blood within the body, which poses a threat not only to the health of the victim but also to their life. The human body does not possess a defense mechanism against radiation. Additionally, it cannot be detected by any of the five senses (Rao 123). Owing to this, it is possible to receive a severe dose of radiation from radioactive elements without being aware of the damage eminent to one’s body/health. Therefore, analysis of the fragments for radioactive elements should not be overlooked in reaching the final decision about the sale of the meteorite fragments.
The article provides information that reflects the significance of geologists in any given nation. The sale of the meteorite fragments on eBay will depend on the results of the geological analysis of the fragments in question. One of the key aspects that will determine the fate of business is the effect that the fragments could have on human health subject to the presence of radioactive elements in the fragments of the meteorite. As discussed above, the fragments could be radioactive and the matter should be taken keenly to ensure that people are not exposed to them. The radiation from radioactive materials poses a threat to not only human health but also human existence.
Committee on Alternatives for Controlling the Release of Solid Materials from Nuclear
Regulatory Commission-Licensed Facilities. Disposition Dilemma: Controlling the Release of Solid Materials from Nuclear Regulatory Commission-Licensed Facilities. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2002. Print.
Rao, Meena B. Radioactive Materials. Mumbai: Global Media, 2010. Print.