Space junk: A recycling station could be cleaning up in Earth orbit by 2050

The risk of space debris collisions grows greater every year.

Space Frontiers/Getty Images

There are about 22,000 large objects orbiting the Earth, including working and broken satellites and bits of old rocket from past space expeditions.

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Would your mobile phone be powerful enough to get you to the moon?

The latest phones have more than one million (1,048,576 to be exact) times more memory than the Apollo computer had in RAM.

Many people who are old enough to have experienced the first moon landing will vividly remember what it was like watching Neil Armstrong utter his famous quote: “That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."

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Watch scientists melt a satellite part to save us from space junk

Not every part of a satellite burns up in reentry. Considering the growing number of satellites in orbital space, that's a big problem.

  • Earth's orbital space is getting more crowded by the day.
  • The more satellites and space junk we put into orbit, the greater a risk that there could be a collision.
  • Not all materials burn up during reentry; that's why scientists need to stress test satellite parts to ensure that they won't become deadly falling objects.
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Astronomers warn Elon Musk's satellites could change our night sky

The massive Starlink satellite network from SpaceX is causing worries.

SpaceX
  • SpaceX recently launched the first 60 of a planned 12,000 satellites for its Starlink network.
  • The network will bring internet connectivity to an additional several billion people.
  • Astronomers worry that all the satellites in low orbit will ruin the night sky and hinder science.
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Space toilets: How astronauts boldly go where few have gone before

A NASA astronomer explains how astronauts dispose of their, uh, dark matter.

  • When nature calls in micro-gravity, astronauts must answer. Space agencies have developed suction-based toilets – with a camera built in to ensure all the waste is contained before "flushing".
  • Yes, there have been floaters in space. The early days of space exploration were a learning curve!
  • Amazingly, you don't need gravity to digest food. Peristalsis, the process by which your throat and intestines squeeze themselves, actually moves food and water through your digestive system without gravity at all.
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