Debris

  • ESA has been forced to reposition its Aeolus satellite to avoid a collision with a member of SpaceX’s Starlink mega constellation.
  • In an effort to reduce the amount of space debris circling the Earth, the World Economic Forum and its partners are working on a Space Sustainability Rating (SSR) that will indicate how well satellite operators and launchers are complying with debris mitigation guidelines.
  • It what seems like a paradox, engineers have been blowing up batteries in hopes of cleaning up space debris. In a series of severe "abuse" tests at the test bunkers of France’s CEA, lithium-ion batteries were tortured to better understand catastrophic battery failures and prevent battery explosions.
  • Space has the prospect of one day getting a bit cleaner as a satellite harpooned a piece of simulated debris in low Earth orbit. The RemoveDEBRIS technology demonstrator deployed a target panel at the end of a boom, then skewered it with a metal harpoon traveling at 20 m/s (44.7 mph, 72 km/h).
  • Dutch artist and designer Daan Roosegaarde has a knack for raising environmental awareness through spectacular and symbolic pieces of art, and his freshly launched Space Waste Lab might be his most impressive installation yet.
  • A team of researchers has come up with plasma beam that can push space debris out of orbit. Mounted on a satellite, the two-way facing beam is produced by a bespoke ion thruster that uses its discharge to decelerate debris so it can burn up in the Earth's atmosphere.
  • Technology designed to clean up space has captured its first bit of simulated space debris in orbit. Part of the RemoveDEBRIS mission, a balloon acted as a target for the RemoveDEBRIS satellite, which fired a weighted net from a range of seven meters (23 ft)​ and successfully snared the "debris."​
  • ​It's not just domestic plastic waste that's threatening marine life across the globe, discarded fishing gear and marine debris can be just as deadly. DJI has joined forces with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Oceans Unmanned to explore safer whale rescue – using drones.​
  • Space may be big, really big, but Earth orbit is getting a bit crowded. NASA is set to install a new sensor on the ISS where it will spend the next two to three years monitoring space debris to learn more about its characteristics.
  • Stanford University and have come up with a robotic gripper that's based on the sticky pads of the gecko. The difference is that instead of helping a lizard to stick to window panes, this gripper is designed to gently latch onto dead satellites and other debris.
  • An ESA-funded scientist is developing a magnetic space tug to combat the growing problem of space debris. ​Using cryogenic magnets, the tugs could lock onto derelict satellites and deorbit them before they become a hazard to navigation.
  • ​Every August our planet passes through the edges of debris left behind by the ancient comet Swift-Tuttle, and every year Earthlings are treated to a spectacular meteorite shower. But this year Mother Nature is cranking up the dial on the atmospheric fireworks.