OK, you can come out from behind the sofa...

April 2, 2018

 

Right, well, the good news is that the Chinese space station is no longer a problem - except to marine life - as it finally crashed into the Pacific Ocean in a mist of tiny flaming particles. No-one was there to see it, so for all we know the event ended in nothing more spectacular than tiny bursts of steam.

 

Now for the not so good news.

 

According to NASA's Orbital Debris Program Office - yep, that's its official name - there are still, give or take, 500,000 or so items of marble-size debris and 20,000 items the size of a small ball rotating above us at an approximate rate of 17,500 mph.  I'm presuming they're all following slowly decaying orbits, which means that sooner or later they're all due to splash down because there ain't nowhere else for them to go. 

 

So, if you're looking for somewhere to invest your spare cash, might I suggest firms who manufacture steel umbrellas?

 

Oh, the photo above...?

 

That's a shot from a really cool website:  Stuff in Space - http://stuffin.space - created by James Yoder, an electrical and computer engineer at the University of Texas.

 

The site tracks the paths of hundreds of thousands of orbital objects in real time and displays anything that is currently trackable in low-earth orbit.

 

If you load up the site you're presented with a slowly spinning globe (which accurately displays day and night) surrounded by various color-coded dots representing satellites (red), debris (gray), and discarded rocket bodies (blue). If you then click on any of the dots, it'll show you the object's orbital path. It's brilliant!

 

Unless you'd rather hide under the covers and pretend it isn't happening... 

 

Click on the photo to go to the site...

 

 

 

 

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