The Kessler syndrome

In Neal Stephenson’s 2015 novel Seveneves, he imagines that the Earth’s moon breaking into seven pieces. This being a work of science fiction, the event of course has dire consequences for everyone on the planet. But if the idea of a cloud of space debris left over from the shattering of the Moon seems fanciful, … Continue reading The Kessler syndrome

Mountains of space junk could carry us to Mars

Space is big. Really big. And there’s not much up there – except all the trash. And that’s suddenly become a valuable resource, as recycling space junk could put an end to the days of fire-and-forget satellite launches. Thanks to South Australian space-industry start-up Neumann Space, every piece of scrap metal in orbit above us … Continue reading Mountains of space junk could carry us to Mars

ISS struck by space junk

Space can be an unforgiving environment, even for a spacecraft. The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has just reported that a small hole has appeared in a robotic arm it operates aboard the International Space Station (ISS) – driving home the risks of space junk. The 5-mm-diameter hole was noticed during a routine inspection of the … Continue reading ISS struck by space junk

Rocket debris draws international criticism

A large, uncontrolled piece of rocket debris hurtled towards Earth over the weekend – more than 20 tonnes travelling at about 27,000 km/h. Understandably, some were a little nervous about the damage bits of China’s biggest rocket – the Long March 5B – might cause. Ultimately most of the debris burned up in the atmosphere, … Continue reading Rocket debris draws international criticism

Space debris? SCOOP it up!

A network of mobile observatories deployed across Australia’s vast expanse could be a new weapon in the battle against dangerous space debris. The Southern Cross Outreach Observatory Project (SCOOP) already takes a mobile observatory – towed by an SUV – into communities to teach people about astronomy. Project founder Muhammad Akbar Hussain presented the idea … Continue reading Space debris? SCOOP it up!

SpaceWatch: spiral arms and space junk

Mars is space flavour of the month, with three spacecraft on their way and suggestions of a possible icy past, but there is other news of note. Here are some projects that took our fancy. A stirred-up planet factory Astrophysicists say planet-forming environments can be more complex and chaotic than previously thought if a new … Continue reading SpaceWatch: spiral arms and space junk