A recent report from the US National Research Council has highlighted an ever increasing problem – space debris. Ever since humans started sending things up into orbit there has been a problem with space junk, because not everything that goes up there comes back down. While larger objects will fall out of orbit and either return to Earth or burn up in the atmosphere, smaller fragments remain in orbit. While small, these fragments could do a significant amount of damage to satellites (or worse spacecraft) and there are also old satellites and spent booster rockets that remain in orbit which could cause even more damage. Some computer models are suggesting that the level of debris has reached a tipping point where there is so much debris that it will be constantly colliding – creating yet more debris. So what is the solution? Several ideas have been proposed including a giant magnet and an umbrella shaped device to sweep up debris. Whichever solution is decided upon, something needs to be done for the sake of those onboard the International Space Station, who increasingly have to dodge the space junk that shares their orbit.Discuss
Space is Rubbish!
Space is Rubbish! by Felicity Carlysle is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Science fiction is all about using cinema, TV, books and comics to make the seemingly impossible possible. It may seem ridiculous to believe that in the near future you will be able to enter people’s dreams to steal their secrets or see a fully functional time machine made out of a DeLorean. In fact, the … More
The debate is still hot on whether viruses are alive or not. Like acrobats on a wire, these tiny entities walk the line between living and nonliving – although they are unable to metabolise, they still do an impressive job reproducing and infecting organisms. And they don’t just stop there. Sometimes, out of nowhere, viruses … More
The undying mystery of the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction – the one where the dinosaurs famously perished – has gained another plot-thickening twist. A Japanese research team now claims to have shown that acid rain, with a horrifyingly low pH of 0-1 (that would be more acidic than the gastric acid in your stomach), could be … More
Gigabytes of interesting, insightful data has been released for public viewing. The file contains never-before-seen information, revealing new knowledge to the world. For the first time in a long time, an introduction like this is not a news story about spying governments and Edward Snowden. There’s been a discovery in the world of mathematics, and … More