Shooting Space Junk with Lasers

N.A.S.A. space scientists have hit on a new way to manage the growing cloud of space junk surrounding the Earth: Use mid-powered lasers to nudge space junk off collision courses.

The growing amount of defunct satellites in Earth's orbit, i.e. space junk, could complicate spaceflight missions in the future: "The U.S. military currently tracks about 20,000 pieces of junk in low-Earth orbit, most of which are discarded bits of spacecraft or debris from collisions in orbit. The atmosphere naturally drags a portion of this refuse down to Earth every year. But in 1978, N.A.S.A. astronomer Don Kessler predicted a doomsday scenario: As collisions drive up the debris, we’ll hit a point where the amount of trash is growing faster than it can fall out of the sky."

A dark matter hurricane is crashing into Earth

Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."

Surprising Science
  • A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
  • It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
  • Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
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We are heading for a New Cretaceous, not for a new normal

The climate change we're witnessing is more dramatic than we might think.

Image credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from Greenbelt, MD, USA
Surprising Science

A lazy buzz phrase – 'Is this the new normal?' – has been doing the rounds as extreme climate events have been piling up over the past year. To which the riposte should be: it's worse than that – we're on the road to even more frequent, more extreme events than we saw this year.

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New study reveals what time we burn the most calories

Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.

Photo: Victor Freitas / Unsplash
Surprising Science
  • Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
  • While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
  • Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
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