According to Douglas Adams, in his famous book The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, space is big. However, it seems near-Earth space is not big enough. In December 2001, the Space Shuttle pushed the International Space Station away from a discarded Russian rocket booster that was due to pass uncomfortably close. Space litter is a growing problem but smarter satellite design may help in the future.
From the beginning of the space era, satellites and deep-space probes have populated the Solar System. There are now a huge number of satellites orbiting the Earth, for different purposes including Earth observation, weather forecasting, telecommunications, military applications, and astronomy. The space around Earth is therefore becoming more and more crowded. Aside from the aspect of `space traffic control`, there is the question of what to do with space litter.
ESA`s European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, tracks space litter. It estimates that over 23 000 objects larger than 10 centimetres have been launched from Earth. Of these, about 7500 are still orbiting - only a very small proportion of them (6%) is operational. Half of all the objects are inoperable satellites, spent rocket stages, or other large space litter; the remaining 44% is debris from explosions and accidents in space. To make things worse, there are an estimated 70 000 to 120 000 fragments smaller than 1 centimetre and the amount of space debris increases by about 5% every year.
Monica Talevi | alfa
Halfway mark for NOEMA, the super-telescope under construction
20.09.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie
What even Einstein didn't know
20.09.2018 | Technische Universität München
The building blocks of matter in our universe were formed in the first 10 microseconds of its existence, according to the currently accepted scientific picture. After the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, matter consisted mainly of quarks and gluons, two types of elementary particles whose interactions are governed by quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of strong interaction. In the early universe, these particles moved (nearly) freely in a quark-gluon plasma.
This is a joint press release of University Muenster and Heidelberg as well as the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt.
Then, in a phase transition, they combined and formed hadrons, among them the building blocks of atomic nuclei, protons and neutrons. In the current issue of...
Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.
"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...
A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.
Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...
Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.
An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome, providing the research community with an invaluable resource to decode the response of fish to...
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