Health Editor’s Note: We drive along highways and see plastic bags, wounded tires, car bumpers left over from accidents, paper, metal and the thought goes through your head, “why does someone not pick that up?” There are portions of highways and roads that are assigned to organizations or groups who volunteer to pick up the trash and get rid of the pollution. There are signs that tell you that these groups are monitoring for debris.
I can remember when it was not uncommon to see someone throw something out of the car window. We developed a name for this discarded waste, litter. We began to make littering illegal but then of course, no one can be watching all the time. How does one clean up pollution and debris that is out in space? Why was it allowed to be there in the first place? When you think of the enormous cost of the things that are sent into space, you would think that someone would want to reclaim/recycle such items. If it can be put up there it should be able to be taken down, safely, so we are not hit by it when it can no longer be held in orbit….Carol
Space Junk Menace: New Guidelines Urged to Help Fight Orbital Debris Threat
by Mike Wall/Space.com
The final frontier may need a little taming.
About 2,000 operational satellites currently zoom around Earth, studying our planet’s weather, beaming down telecommunications data and performing a variety of other tasks. But that number has been rising steadily as the costs of building and launching spacecraft fall, and it’s about to make some big leaps.
For example, SpaceX, Amazon and OneWeb all plan to set up internet-satellite megaconstellations in the near future. This past May, SpaceX launched to low-Earth orbit the first 60 members of its Starlink network, which could eventually feature up to 12,000 satellites.
But not all of the coming Earth-circling spacecraft will be operated by aerospace professionals working for deep-pocketed companies or government agencies. A fair number will be run by neophytes who just a few short years ago couldn’t have dreamed of being part of the space scene.
Indeed, that’s already happening, because “even, frankly, elementary schools can afford to put up these little experimental satellites,” Walter Scott, chief technology officer of Maxar Technologies, told Space.com.