How can we deal with space junk?


We all knew that Earth is being polluted with garbage. Now it looks like we are cluttering up space too.

Did you hear about the two satellites crashed into each other 50 miles above the earth!? It´s the first time this has happened- but it won´t be the last. The junk floating around Earth has built up to a dangerous level. Every time two things smash into eachother, a bunch of fragments break off and make MORE space junk.

NASA has scientists working for them whose only job is to make sure a rocket gets through all the space junk (without smashing into anything). That says alot about how much rubbish there is up there! Unlike Earth, space does not belong to any country. That means space belongs to everyone (and no-one!), and no-one has taken the responsibility of cleaning up space. By the way, how to clean up space junk (or building a rocket) can make great Science Fair projects.

Sooner or later, old satellites end up falling out of orbit and back toward the earth, but this can take 10 or 20 years sometimes (Don’t worry, they burn up before they hit the earth. If you were wondering, it’s because they are falling SO fast that friction with the air makes them get hot enough to catch fire).
Rockets are built so that bits fall off them as they climb through the atmosphere and stratosphere. This is to keep them as light as possible. Unfortunately, these discarded parts just stay in orbit – and we´re running out of room up there.

Rocket Science is heaps of fun, but the increase of space junk raises the old question: ´How do we balance Social Responsibility with Science´?

There are some great Science Fair Projects that deal with rocketry. If, however, you are more philosophical in your approach to things, you might like to set a hypothesis that could help deal with the waste from this fascinating arm of science. Good luck!

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