Scientists propose blasting space junk out of orbit with powerful plasma beam

Researchers at Japan's Tohoku University might be clearing the way for space travel.

Patrice_Audet via Pixabay
  • Japanese researchers have developed a magnetic nozzle plasma thruster that could clean up our atmosphere.
  • The satellite solves a long-standing issue by including two thrusters to ensure junk is pushed out of orbit.
  • While the project is not without risks, it marks a potential solution for the growing problem of space debris.
Keep reading Show less

Neil deGrasse Tyson has an unexpected reaction to Trump's Space Force

Neil deGrasse Tyson explains why Trump's Space Force is "not a crazy idea".

Credit: Getty Images
  • The astrophysicist and author Neil deGrasse Tyson discusses why he wanted a Space Force for decades.
  • He doesn't think just because Trump proposed it that the Space Force is "a crazy idea".
  • Tyson sees important non-military functions for the branch.
Keep reading Show less

This is the damage a tiny speck of space debris can do at 15,000mph

Space is not the place to put waste, as it turns pretty much anything into a high-velocity projectile capable of causing incredible damage. 

Gravity, 2013

If you'll excuse the analogy, the immediate surroundings in space are kind of like Brooklyn. It's becoming increasingly crowded, expensive, and ultimately full of things that shouldn't be there in the first place. Unlike Brooklyn, however, space is full of space debris: small amounts of (basically) trash that humans have gotten in our orbit. The ISS has cataloged about 500,000 of these small pieces and they hurtle around our planet at about 15,000mph. Or 14.17 g-force. Or 24,140kph. 

Keep reading Show less