Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Space Junk

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Space Junk

Article excerpt

Space Junk By Karen Romano Young. $33.32. 64 pp. Twenty-First Century Books. Frederick, MD. 2016. ISBN: 9781467756006.


Lottie Williams of Oklahoma is the first and only person to be hit with falling space junk, man-made debris that orbit the Earth. However, if the current trend continues, we all may be looking up more often.

This book provides a concise history of the human race's cosmic pollution and reviews the methods that current researchers are planning to use to clean up Earth's orbit to prevent a scenario like the one seen in the movie Gravity in which space debris damage the space shuttle and endanger lives.

Space Junk outlines the causes of the amazing traffic jam that has the potential to stop our departure from Earth. The book states that since the late 1950s, more than 6,600 satellites have been launched into space. About 1,000 still function. The rest are still up there, colliding with each other to create small pieces of debris that can affect working spacecraft, the International Space Station (ISS), and astronauts out for a spacewalk. Although some zombie satellites (those no longer in service) may burn up upon re-entry, some pieces are too big to burn. The space stations Skylab and Mir are examples of school bus--size debris that made it to the ground, in addition to the piece that hit Williams.

The first chapter outlines the sources of the junk in orbit and on other planets and the Moon. …

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