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SPACE: Garbage Problem in Orbit is Getting Worse

space garbage - NASA

Before humans first started sending objects into Earth orbit, the pocket of space around our planet was clear and clean. But the launch of Sputnik 1 in October of 1957 changed everything. Since then, the space debris has been accumulating, with the amount of useless, defunct satellites vastly outnumbering the operational objects in our orbit. A new annual report from the European Space Agency (ESA) has found that while we have become aware of the problem and taken steps in recent years to mitigate it, those steps are currently not keeping up with the sheer scale of space junk. All … Read more

SPACE: Trash on the Moon

moon - NASA

The moon has a lot of junk on it, including a gold olive branch, a flag kit, several lunar orbiters, and a hammer and a falcon feather — the components of a 1971 experiment used to demonstrate that objects fall at the same rate regardless of mass. There are dozens more pieces of lunar debris. But how much garbage, exactly, have humans left or sent to the moon? It’s challenging to say, but the trash on the moon likely weighs upward of 400,000 lbs. (181,000 kilograms) on Earth. This weight is taken from Wikipedia, but it sounds about right considering … Read more

Discussion: Future Trash


OK, it’s garbage day here in our little corner of the world. Already, we are running out of places to put all the garbage we generate. We have so much extra packaging – did you see that story of the family who decided to do what they could to live without it, and managed to reduce their garbage output to one glass bottle’s worth in a year? And what about the great plastic garbage patch in the middle of the Pacific? So I’m inspired to ask – what happens to the garbage of the future? Does the whole planet get … Read more