View of satellite population including space debris - taken from low Earth orbit.
Click on image for full size
Junk in Space!
News story originally written on June 30, 1997
On Earth, humans make trash. This trash can pollute our environment. Humans are doing the same thing in space. Right now there are millions of man-made objects floating in space called "space junk". Space junk includes things like satellites that aren't being used or paint that has fallen off of the space shuttle.
Man-made debris orbits at a speed of 17,500 miles/hour. That's much faster then any human could drive! Even a small speck of paint could do great damage if it hit a spacecraft at such a high speed!
Spacecraft must be protected by shields that are not hurt when they get hit with space junk. Or the spacecraft must be able to move out of the way so it doesn't get hit by the space junk.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, as well as books
on science education!
You might also be interested in:
On Earth, humans make trash. This trash can pollute our environment. Humans are doing the same thing in space. Right now there are millions of man-made objects floating in space called "space junk". Space...more
It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The sky was clear and the weather was great. This was the America's 123rd manned space mission. A huge...more
Scientists found a satellite orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is the second one ever! A special telescope allows scientists to look through Earth's atmosphere. The first satellite found was Dactyl....more
The United States wants Russia to put the service module in orbit! The module is part of the International Space Station. It was supposed to be in space over 2 years ago. Russia just sent supplies to the...more
A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. ACE measured some exciting things as the CME material passed...more
Trees and plants are a very important part of this Earth. Trees and plants are nature's air conditioning because they help keep our Earth cool. On a summer day, walking bare-foot on the sidewalk burns,...more