How space debris created the world’s largest garbage dump

Since 1957, the world's space agencies have been polluting the space above us with countless pieces of junk, threatening our technological infrastructure and ability to venture deeper into space.

Framestock via Adobe Stock
  • Space debris is any human-made object that's currently orbiting Earth.
  • When space debris collides with other space debris, it can create thousands more pieces of junk, a dangerous phenomenon known as the Kessler syndrome.
  • Radical solutions are being proposed to fix the problem, some of which just might work. (See the video embedded toward the end of the article.)
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Humanity's most distant space probe captures a strange sound

A new paper reveals that the Voyager 1 spacecraft detected a constant hum coming from outside our Solar System.

Credit: NASA / JPL - Caltech.
  • Voyager 1, humankind's most distant space probe, detected an unusual "hum" in the data from interstellar space.
  • The noise is likely produced by interstellar gas.
  • Further investigation may reveal the hum's exact origins.
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Asteroid impact: NASA simulation shows we are sitting ducks

Even with six months' notice, we can't stop an incoming asteroid.

Credit: NASA/JPL
  • At an international space conference, attendees took part in an exercise that imagined an asteroid crashing into Earth.
  • With the object first spotted six months before impact, attendees concluded that there was insufficient time for a meaningful response.
  • There are an estimated 25,000 near-Earth objects potentially threatening our planet.
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Icy clouds on ancient Mars may have given rise to lakes and rivers

Scientists have long puzzled over how Mars, a cold and dry planet, was once warm enough to support liquid water.

Sasa Kadrijevic via Adobe Stock
  • In a recent study, researchers created a computer model to explore how varying levels of surface ice would have affected clouds above the Martian surface.
  • The results showed that icy, high-altitude clouds would have formed if Mars was covered in relatively small amounts of ice. These clouds would have helped warm the planet.
  • NASA's Perseverance rover may soon confirm this hypothesis by taking geological samples of the Martian surface.
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New galaxy clusters found hiding in plain sight

The research suggests that roughly 1 percent of galaxy clusters look atypical and can be easily misidentified.

NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team
MIT astronomers have discovered new and unusual galactic neighborhoods that previous studies overlooked.
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