Space junk: warns of dramatic developments

Space junk: warns of dramatic developments

On Wednesday evening, the remains of the ERS-2 satellite returned to the surface of the Earth, specifically in the sea between Alaska and Hawaii, after nearly 30 years in space.

But although it may seem lonely, the satellite was by no means alone there.

Nearly 67 years after Russia started the space race with the successful launch of Sputnik 1, there are now so many flying machines floating around space that astronauts fear it will become impossible to study other galaxies, he writes. CNN.

Scientists also fear the consequences for our planet.

It was recorded across the Pacific Ocean

It was recorded across the Pacific Ocean


will increase significantly

After the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) used high-flying aircraft to take new samples from the stratosphere, scientists are warning about what they found more than 65 years after the world's first satellite was launched into Earth orbit.

They believe that the space race has potentially catastrophic consequences for both the ozone layer and climate.

in Stady Ten percent of the particles in the upper atmosphere now appear to contain metal pieces from rockets and satellites that have fallen or burned up.

– We can see the imprint of human movement in space on stratospheric aerosols (small floating particles). says physicist Troy Thornberry in the Chemical Research Division at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). About the study.

Researchers also estimate that man-made particles will make up up to 50% of stratospheric aerosols in the coming decades, as humanity becomes increasingly dependent on knowledge from space.

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Garbage: 3D illustration showing floating garbage.  Illustration: Shutterstock/NTB

Garbage: 3D illustration showing floating garbage. Illustration: Shutterstock/NTB
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Huge pile of rubbish

In addition to satellites and rockets being sent up for research, there is a race to make space travel affordable for everyone.

When Elon Musk founded SpaceX in 2002, its long-term goal was to colonize Mars. He has hinted that a flight to Mars with a crew on board could take place as early as 2029.

Norman I: Here, 42-year-old Markus Wandt from Rainsvoll becomes the first astronaut with Norwegian citizenship. Video: SpaceX/Axiom. Reporter: Vegard Krüger/Dagbladet TV.
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Jeff Bezos, the world's richest man, went into space in July 2021 with his space company Blue Origin. Along with British billionaire Richard Branson, Musk and Bezos are among the contenders to build a space tourism industry.

Since the beginning of the space age in 1957, until December 2022, 12,300 satellites have been launched, according to statistics etc. About 8,300 of them are still in space, according to the monitoring website Spin now.

The rest is “space junk.”

That is not enough. The floating pile of waste also consists of rockets, fuel scraps and other equipment used to launch all the satellites. These pieces tend to break into smaller pieces through collisions and explosions.

Vietnam: In 2016, three large metal balls fell in the northern Tuyen Quang province of Vietnam.  Photo: AFP/NTB

Vietnam: In 2016, three large metal balls fell in the northern Tuyen Quang province of Vietnam. Photo: AFP/NTB
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Violent growth

In recent years, there has also been tremendous development.

In 2022 alone, more than 2,400 satellites will be placed in Earth orbit, according to SNL. In the past five years, a total of 5,000 satellites have been launched, most of which will return within five years, according to Orbiting Now.

Meanwhile, the plans are much more ambitious in the coming years.

According to CNN, more than 300 commercial and government entities have announced plans to launch 478,000 satellites by 2030, but researchers believe that number is greatly exaggerated as a result of the popularity and interest surrounding the space industry in recent years.

Space junk: Australian farmer James Stirton witnessed this twisted mass of metal fall on top of his Queensland farm in 2008. Photograph: James Stirton/Reuters/NTB

Space junk: Australian farmer James Stirton witnessed this twisted mass of metal fall on top of his Queensland farm in 2008. Photograph: James Stirton/Reuters/NTB
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US authorities expected the number to reach 58,000, while other analysts again indicated that the number may be closer to 20,000, CNN wrote.

Despite international rules for dealing with space waste, and new ideas for cleaning up space, researchers believe that not enough satellites return to Earth.

So the fear is that developments in the space race will increase the amount of space junk dramatically, very quickly.

The brightest object in the universe

The brightest object in the universe


warning

The International Space Station (ISS) has warned that space debris increases the risk of collisions and poses a danger to astronauts on board. Even pieces of space debris as small as 0.3 mm can pose a threat, with pieces moving at speeds of up to 30,000 kilometers per hour.

Although the risk of exposure to space debris is minimal, several times space debris has fallen to Earth out of control, where it can pose a threat to humans.

While it is still uncertain, according to Thornberry, how the waste will affect the ozone layer and climate of the planet, he is nonetheless deeply concerned about the potential damage to the commercial space race.

He points, among other things, to the fuel used by SpaceX rockets, which is much more polluting, but is used to deliver giant rockets into space.

“So we're talking about constellations of thousands of satellites, each weighing about a ton, that behave like meteorites when they fall back down,” Thornberry told CNN.

Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

"Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff."

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