space debris

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Adopt a Piece of Space Junk, Get Its Tweets as It Flies By

Nearly 30K objects larger than 10cm are currently in orbit

(Newser) - The jury may be out on intelligent extraterrestrial life, but this we know: We are not alone. At least, we are surrounded by our own junk. In an effort to raise awareness about the dangers of the hundreds of millions of pieces of debris currently orbiting planet Earth, an interactive... More »

Video Reveals How Fast We've Amassed Space Junk

In just 60 years, Earth has become surrounded by 500K pieces of debris

(Newser) - More than 500,000 known objects are orbiting planet Earth, and around 20,000 of them are at least as big as a softball, reports NASA . Now a University College London professor has used data from space-track.org to create a video to help us visualize how quickly that space... More »

ISS Astronauts Flee Flying Russian Space Debris

It was too late to do 'evasive maneuver' by the time they got word from NASA

(Newser) - American astronaut Scott Kelly and two Russian cosmonauts shacked up at the International Space Station had to scurry out of the way of flying space debris after a chunk of a Russian weather satellite sped by earlier today, AFP reports. The men hurried into the Soyuz spacecraft, which ferries them... More »

Ecuador's Very First Satellite Has Very Bad Luck

3-pound cube satellite hits space debris, might be kaput after just a month

(Newser) - Ecuador's space agency achieved a big milestone a month ago when it launched its first-ever satellite into space. Little Pegasus, a cube-shaped device weighing less than 3 pounds, had been happily transmitting photos and playing the Ecuadorean national anthem in orbit ever since—until it apparently smashed into the... More »

So Where Did Satellite Land? NASA May Never Know

Need more exact data to pinpoint where UARS and debris hit the Earth

(Newser) - NASA's just-crashed UARS satellite may have been the size of a bus and weighed 6 tons, but, because of its speed and uncertainty about the exact time it hit the Earth, scientists say they don't know exactly where their space junk crashed, reports the Chicago Tribune . "We... More »

Space Junk Passes 'Tipping Point'

Report urges NASA to ramp up efforts quickly

(Newser) - Astronauts on the International Space Station had a close call with space debris in June, and things are only going to get worse from here on out, warns a new report. In fact, the amount of junk orbiting earth has now passed the "tipping point," says the National... More »

'Space Fence' to Track Cosmic Junk

Near misses underscore need for new system

(Newser) - As the space shuttle program draws to a close, engineers are focusing on a less glamorous phenomenon of the space age: cosmic junk. The US Air Force is working on a $3.5 billion "Space Fence" scanner to track the estimated 500,000 pieces of space debris bigger than... More »

ISS Crew Dodges Space Debris

Six international astronauts sent into pods for safety

(Newser) - Russian Mission Control says the International Space Station's crew has briefly taken seats in escape capsules due to a close encounter with space debris. The six crewmen spent about half an hour today in two Soyuz escape capsules docked at the station before the space junk passed by without... More »

Solar Sail to Clean Up Space Junk

'CubeSail' designed to drag orbiting debris to fiery reentry

(Newser) - British scientists have devised a way to get rid of some of the 5,000-plus tons of space trash orbiting the earth and endangering satellites and astronauts. The team's CubeSail—a plastic sail utilizing high atmospheric gases and solar radiation—is designed to drag dead rockets and satellites out of... More »

Mystery East Coast Fireball Was a Russian Rocket

Naval Observatory 99% sure explosion was remains of Soyuz booster

(Newser) - The fireball that lit up parts of the East Coast Sunday night was almost certainly the exploding remains of a Russian rocket, a US Naval Observatory official tells Space.com. The second stage of the Soyuz rocket was slated to enter the atmosphere at the time and place the fireball... More »

NASA: Debris Will Miss Space Station

(Newser) - NASA gave the all-clear to the international space station tonight, telling its astronauts they would not need to steer away from an orbiting piece of satellite junk. Experts had been keeping close tabs on the debris all day, at one point believing it might pass within a half-mile of the... More »

Erratic Debris a Concern for Space Station, Discovery

(Newser) - NASA kept close tabs today on an old piece of space junk that threatened to come too close to the international space station as the shuttle Discovery raced toward the outpost for a 220-mile-high linkup. Experts initially warned that the debris from a Soviet satellite that broke up in 1981... More »

Hail of Debris Forces Space Station Evacuation

(Newser) - Fearing a strike by orbiting space junk, the three astronauts on the International Space Station evacuated to an attached capsule this morning, the Houston Chronicle reports. Though the chance of impact was slight, the debris—a 4-inch piece of an old rocket—could have caused major damage to the station.... More »

Junk We've Lost in Outer Space

(Newser) - In the wake of two satellites colliding this week—and debris apparently falling on several states—Wired runs down a list of objects we've lost in outer space:
  • A spatula: Used to apply heat-shield repair goo, the implement's loss was a blow to one astronaut. "That was my favorite
... More »

Space Junk to Hit Earth Tomorrow

Ammonia tank chucked from ISS expected to break up in atmosphere

(Newser) - NASA is tracking a fridge-sized chunk of space trash expected to plunge to Earth tomorrow night, Space.com reports. The ammonia tank was thrown overboard from the International Space Station over a year ago and has been slowly descending since. NASA says it's highly unlikely that anybody will impacted by... More »

Asteroids Could Reseed a Devastated Earth

Rock-dwelling microorganisms would make it back from space

(Newser) - If a comet ever obliterates life on Earth, don't worry—space rocks could later fall in and reseed a few basic life forms. A new study shows that organisms can survive being hit by a meteor, ejected into space, and hurtled back to Earth on the face of a rock—... More »

NASA to Smash Moon in Hunt for Lunar Ice

Spacecraft will study dust after partner vessel crashes

(Newser) - No, they're not angry at the moon—but NASA is preparing two spacecraft for head-on collisions with the lunar South Pole. The idea is that the double impact might uncover ice suspected to be hiding in the moon's poles, Space.com reports. Scientists detected large amounts of hydrogen there on... More »

Navy Prepares to Fire on Satellite Tonight

After Atlantis is back, warship will take aim at rogue orbiter

(Newser) - The US Navy has warned planes and ships away from a large area of the Pacific ahead of an attempt to shoot down a rogue spy satellite carrying toxic fuel tonight, CNN reports. The space shuttle Atlantis is due back on Earth today and military officials are waiting for its... More »

Satellite Shootdown May Cost $60M

Navy likely to take aim next week, after shuttle Atlantis returns

(Newser) - The Navy's attempt to shoot down a malfunctioning spy satellite will cost up to $60 million, CNN reports. Three Navy ships are preparing for the mission, which could take place next week, but only after the space shuttle Atlantis returns. The Navy hopes to destroy the satellite, which has half... More »

Falling Spy Satellite May Hit North America

Military won't know exact landing spots until 30 minutes to impact

(Newser) - A defunct and out-of-control spy satellite is falling to Earth, and could scatter debris somewhere in North America in late February or early March, the AP reports. The Air Force says the satellite called US 193, whose central computer failed shortly after its launch in 2006, is big enough that... More »

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