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space debris

  1. A Smartphone Tax Is One Way to Help Clean Up Space Junk

    Or we could maybe just place a higher value on space funding.

    Space debris is a big problem, and not just because it might mean losing George Clooney to the cold, unfeeling clutches of outer space. If something isn't done about the debris from space programs in orbit around the Earth, launching a spacecraft from our planet will eventually become like trying to catapult it through a shooting gallery.

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  2. Japan Is Going to Clean up Everyone’s Space-Mess with a Giant Magnetic Net

    Even chores sound exciting in space.

    Most of the time, when a bunch of roommates have a mess problem, it's solved with a lot of passive-aggressive notes about whose dishes are still in the sink and who doesn't even use the dirty microwave. Space junk is a little more dangerous than dirty dishes, so we're glad Japan has skipped all of the snarky stuff and come up with a solution.

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  3. ISS Hit by Small “Bullet” So Obviously Chris Hadfield Tweets About It

    We don't have very many details at the moment, but International Space Station Commander and Canadian superhero Chris Hadfield just tweeted this image from space. It shows a small hole in the ISS solar array from what Hadfield called "a small stone." He said he was glad it missed the hull. For the record, we're glad it missed the hull too.

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  4. Hey, Everybody! Let’s Harpoon Some Space Garbage

    The amount of debris orbiting the Earth is alarming. It's a threat to both space science, and business -- space business. The European Space Agency just wrapped up its 6th European Conference on Space Debris to decide what to do about it. One of the ideas? Let's shoot harpoons and nets at the junk. How soon before Space Junkers is a show on the Discovery Channel?

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  5. Russian Rocket Explosion Leaves Hundreds of Fragments in Low Earth Orbit, Could Cause Problems for ISS

    Back in August, a Russian Briz-M upper rocket stage failed to function correctly, leaving it stranded prior to its intended target, and launching its payload far short of the intended goal. This alone was seen as a facepalm moment for the Russian space program, but things got worse in mid-October. Because the rocket failed to complete its burn, the stranded stage still had fuel sitting around within it, and it exploded spectacularly. Now they're saying that the event left around 500 fragments in low Earth orbit, meaning it could potentially make the International Space Station's usual orbit a pain to navigate.

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