NASA thinks there's a way to get to Mars in three days

We've achieved amazing things by using chemical rockets to place satellites in orbit, land people on the moon, and place rovers on the surface of Mars. We've even used ion drives to reach destinations further afield in our ...

Cassini probe finds vast void between Saturn's rings

The unmanned Cassini spacecraft, after completing two passes in the vast, unexplored area between Saturn's rings has discovered not much else there, researchers at NASA said.

How to see the doomed Tiangong-1 Chinese space station

China's first space station, Tiangong-1, is expected to fall to Earth sometime in late 2017. We've known for several months that the orbital demise of the 8-metric ton space station was only a matter of time. But Chinese ...

NASA studying ways to make 'tractor beams' a reality

Tractor beams -- the ability to trap and move objects using laser light -- are the stuff of science fiction, but a team of NASA scientists has won funding to study the concept for remotely capturing planetary or atmospheric ...

A giant impact: Solving the mystery of how Mars' moons formed

Where did the two natural satellites of Mars, Phobos and Deimos, come from? For a long time, their shape suggested that they were asteroids captured by Mars. However, the shape and course of their orbits contradict this hypothesis. ...

Research team casts light on asteroid deflection

So you think global warming is a big problem? What could happen if a 25-million-ton chunk of rock slammed into Earth? When something similar happened 65 million years ago, the dinosaurs and other forms of life were wiped ...

Could plasma jet thrusters 'kickstart' interplanetary travel?

A great offshoot from commercial space companies getting a foothold in real missions to orbit is that the old entrepreneurial space spirit seems to have been revived. People are attempting to develop and build what could ...

Meteor strike in Russia hurts almost 1,000 (w/ Video)

A plunging meteor which exploded with a blinding flash above central Russia , set off a shockwave that shattered windows and hurt almost 1,000 people in an event unprecedented in modern times.

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Space debris

Space debris or orbital debris, also called space junk and space waste, are the objects in orbit around Earth created by humans, and that no longer serve any useful purpose. They consist of everything from entire spent rocket stages and defunct satellites to explosion fragments, paint flakes, dust, and slag from solid rocket motors, coolant released by RORSAT nuclear powered satellites, deliberate insertion of small needles, and other small particles. Clouds of very small particles may cause erosive damage, like sandblasting. Space "junk" has become a growing concern in recent years, since collisions at orbital velocities can be highly damaging to functional satellites and can also produce even more space debris in the process. This is called the Kessler Syndrome. Some spacecraft, like the International Space Station, are now armored to mitigate damage from this hazard. Astronauts on space-walks are also vulnerable.

The first major space debris collision was on February 10, 2009 at 16:56 UTC. The deactivated Kosmos-2251 and an operational Iridium 33 collided 789 kilometres (490 mi) over northern Siberia. The relative speed of impact was about 11.7 kilometres per second (7.3 mi/s), or approximately 42,120 kilometres per hour (26,170 mph). Both satellites were destroyed. The collision scattered considerable debris, which poses an elevated risk to spacecraft.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA