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Space junk

Analysis and Comment (11)

Plenty of space junk out there. Plenty of space junk out there. EOS Space Systems

Earthbound and down: last night’s bright meteor was space junk

A bright meteor lit up the sky across Australia last night, grabbing the attention of anyone who happened to be outdoors. Seen around 10pm AEST, it was intensely bright and slow moving, with many observers…
From stardust we come, to stardust we go. From stardust we come, to stardust we go. EPA/Sergei Ilnitsky

Space offers no escape from the surly bonds of Earthly politics

Seasoned observers of the United Nations generally regard the organisation’s lofty aspirations to the “betterment of humankind” and the eternal pursuit of “peace and security” as just the rhetorical tokens…
Feel the lift from the light. Feel the lift from the light. Flickr/Louish Pixel

Levitation is just part of the power of pushy light

Most of the time we take light for granted. It arrives with the sunrise everyday and we turn it on with a flick of a switch every night. It appears to be ephemeral and benign to us humans but there is…
It’s been decades since our last foray outside Earth’s orbit - but what’s next for humankind? It’s been decades since our last foray outside Earth’s orbit - but what’s next for humankind? P.O. Arnäs

Humanity’s next giant leap: our heritage in space is our future too

The United Nations’ Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space is meeting in Vienna this week, and representatives of 74 countries will discuss, among other things, how to ensure space is maintained…
The impact on society from the next solar maximum is predicted to be worse than the last. The impact on society from the next solar maximum is predicted to be worse than the last. NASA

Divert power to shields – the solar maximum is coming

Over the past few months our planet has been impacted by an increasing number of solar explosions that have erupted from the sun’s surface. Even though next year’s predicted solar maximum – the period…
Unless something is done about space junk, it might become too unsafe to have satellites in Low-Earth Orbit. Unless something is done about space junk, it might become too unsafe to have satellites in Low-Earth Orbit. ESA

You, me and debris: Australia should help clear ‘space junk’

At some point in the next few months, Australia will get its first ever national space policy. The release of the report, following consultation by experts in the space industry, will be a defining moment…
The amateur radio satellite, Australis Oscar V, is an important part of our spacefaring history. The amateur radio satellite, Australis Oscar V, is an important part of our spacefaring history. Alice Gorman

Saving space junk, our cultural heritage in orbit

A few weeks ago astronauts on the International Space Station hid in escape capsules following concerns a piece of space junk was going to collide with the station. The collision didn’t eventuate but the…
There’s all kinds of rubbish in orbit, and it can cause serious damage. There’s all kinds of rubbish in orbit, and it can cause serious damage. James Vallejo

Giant lasers and kamikaze satellites … it’s time to deal with our space junk problem

In mid-February, the Swiss Space Centre announced a plan to start removing space debris from orbit. Their proposal involved using a satellite, called CleanSpace One, to approach, grapple and then “de-orbit…
Nearly 8,000 objects have been identified for possible collision with Earth. Nearly 8,000 objects have been identified for possible collision with Earth. Pat Dalton...

Space invasions: what to do when stuff falls from the sky

In the past six months, it seems something has fallen from the sky every second minute. In September, the UARS satellite re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere, causing a media frenzy. In October, the German…
Look on the bright side, earthlings: it’ll probably never happen. Look on the bright side, earthlings: it’ll probably never happen. Shanon Wise

Incoming! What are the odds you’ll get hit by NASA’s falling satellite?

You might want to look up. Or maybe not. At some point between now and Saturday, a 6.5 tonne, bus-sized NASA satellite will burst through Earth’s atmosphere, breaking into fiery chunks that could land…
A computer-generated artists impression of the thousands of objects in orbit around Earth. A computer-generated artists impression of the thousands of objects in orbit around Earth. AFP

Space junk and the environment: it’s a very dark picture indeed

Since the launch of the first artificial satellite in 1957 – the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 1 – countries around the world have been putting satellites and spacecraft into Earth orbit. While the majority of…

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