Space debris, often called space junk, is a growing hazard in low-earth orbit. This week’s 6th European Conference on Space Debris is currently being held in Darmstadt, Germany to allow members of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the concerned public to address the problem of space junk leftover from the approximately 4,900 launches that have occurred from the beginning of the Space Age in the late 1950s through 2012.
The ESA said that the bulk of the space junk comes from two sources — 240 explosions in orbiting craft and “fewer than 10 known collisions” between two or more orbiting craft. They said that both American and European estimates agree that there are over 23,000 objects larger than 5 to 10 centimeters spinning around the earth at speeds of around 25,000 kilometers per hour.
Whew. That’s a lot of hazardous debris floating around.
One space technology company, Astrium, is proposing a specialized harpoon that can catch the estimated 6,000 tons of dangerous debris and remove it from low-earth orbit.
Astrium engineer Jaime Reed told CNN that the full proposal will be unveiled on Wednesday. In essence, though, the plan involves a so-called chase satellite that will deploy a tiny barbed harpoon to catch nuisance pieces of space junk so that they can be towed back toward the atmosphere. Small pieces of junk can then be dropped to burn up harmlessly as they fall through the air — similar to the way that small bits of space dust streak through the sky as meteors as they burn up before hitting the earth.
Estonia must accept African & Middle Eastern immigrants says politician 2015-05-22 3:06
Kalle Laanet, an Estonian politician, spoke at the International Migration Forum held in Tallinn. He told the audience that the question is not: Should Estonia take the African and the Middle Eastern immigrants (who illegally entered Southern Europe)? He said the question is: How will Estonia take the immigrants?
â€śToday the issue is not whether Estonia should receive the refugees coming to ...
Rescuing Palmyra: History's lesson in how to save artefacts 2015-05-21 22:49
With Islamic State militants now inside the historic town of Palmyra in Syria, the question, inevitably, is whether they will destroy the ancient ruins.
As IS continues to sweep through parts of Iraq and Syria, damage to centuries-old artefacts - because IS sees statues and shrines as idolatrous - is plentiful.
But history has shown that, when culturally important sites are under ...
Saudi Arabia Wants to Convert Sweden to Islam 2015-05-21 20:38
Aje Carlbom is an Associate Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Malmö
Since the 1970s, Saudi Arabia has actively spread its interpretation of Islam, Wahhabism or Salafism, worldwide. It is the most literal version of Islam and affects many young Muslims, who regard society as a place to Islamize, writes social anthropologist Aje Carlbom.
Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot WallstrĂ¶m was ...
Professor: If You Read To Your Kids, You're 'Unfairly Disadvantaging' Others 2015-05-21 18:22
According to a professor at the University of Warwick in England, parents who read to their kids should be thinking about how they're "unfairly disadvantaging other people's children" by doing so.
In an interview with ABC Radio last week, philosopher and professor Adam Swift said that since "bedtime stories activities . . . do indeed foster and produce . . ...
If You Read About Conspiracies You're Just Like Osama Bin Laden Apparently 2015-05-21 3:46
At its heart, the story of Osama bin Laden's time at his house in Abbottabad is surreal. The American image of bin Laden - leering at us from under his head wrap as he plots and schemes - is undermined by the mundane realities of his life. The guy was responsible for murdering thousands of Americans and orchestrating a global ...