Space Junk Hits a Tipping Point

Ominous news from the crowded sky above our heads:

…low-Earth orbit is finally on the verge of becoming too crowded for comfort. And the problem is now poised to get much worse because of the rise of satellite “mega constellations” requiring thousands of spacecraft, such as SpaceX’s Starlink, a broadband Internet network.

For more background, check out this 2020 article from the New Yorker. Or for a good example of what happens when this goes badly, skip right to the Wikipedia entry for the 2009 Iridium-Kosmos collision mentioned in the Scientific American article. The teeming space around our planet impacts us down here on Earth in other ways, too.

Link spotted via Nature’s Briefing newsletter. I subscribe to a spare few email newsletters, but Nature’s has been a recent addition and it’s consistently interesting and informative.

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