This is an Actual Picture of Space Debris

A piece of space debris in Earth orbit, as seen by the ADRAS-J satellite. Credit: Astroscale Japan, Inc.

Space debris is a growing problem, so companies are working on ways to mitigate it. A new satellite called ADRAS-J was built and launched to demonstrate how a spacecraft could rendezvous with a piece of space junk, paving the path for future removal. Astroscale Japan Inc, the Japanese company behind the satellite, released a new picture from the mission showing a close image of its target space debris, a discarded Japanese H2A rocket’s upper stage, captured from just a few hundred meters away.

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Watch a Satellite Reaction Wheel Melt in a Simulated Orbital Re-Entry

This illustrations shows one of the ESA's Automated Transfer Vehicles burning up during re-entry. Heavier spacecraft components like satellite reaction wheels don't always burn up and constitute a hazard. ESA engineers are working to change that. Image Credit: ESA LICENCE ESA Standard Licence

Most satellites share the same fate at the end of their lives. Their orbits decay, and eventually, they plunge through the atmosphere toward Earth. Most satellites are destroyed during their rapid descent, but not always

Heavy pieces of the satellite, like reaction wheels, can survive and strike the Earth. Engineers are trying to change that.

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Watch a Real-Time Map of Starlinks Orbiting Earth

Image of the Starlink interactive map offered by SpaceX. (Credit: StarlinkMap.org)

In an effort to enhance the educational outreach of their Starlink constellation, there is an interactive global map of their Starlink internet satellites, which provides live coverage of every satellite in orbit around the Earth. This interactive map and information was produced by Will DePue, who is a an OpenAI programmer and openly states he is not affiliated with SpaceX or Starlink. This interactive map comes as SpaceX continues to launch Starlink satellites into orbit on a near-weekly basis with the goal of providing customers around the world with high-speed internet while specifically targeting rural regions of the globe. In 2022, Starlink officially reached all seven continents after Starlink service became available in Antarctica. Additionally, SpaceX announced in 2023 a partnership with T-Mobile for Starlink to provide mobile coverage, as well.

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See the Dramatic Final Moments of the Doomed ERS-2 Satellite

The ESA's ERS-2 Earth observation satellite was destroyed when it re-entered Earth's atmosphere on February 21st 2004. Heavy parts of satellites like reaction wheels don't don't always burn up in the atmosphere and can pose a hazard. ESA engineers are working on reaction wheels that will break into pieces to reduce the hazard. Image Credit: Fraunhofer FHR

When a satellite reaches the end of its life, it has only two destinations. It can either be maneuvered into a graveyard orbit, a kind of purgatory for satellites, or it plunges to its destruction in Earth’s atmosphere. The ESA’s ERS-2 satellite took the latter option after 30 years in orbit.

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Anti-Satellite Weapons Will Threaten Everyone’s Access to Space

Artist Impression of satellite in orbit above Earth

It’s a headline straight out of the movies yet the White House has recently confirmed it believes that Russia is building space-based anti-satellite weapon! There seems to be no conclusive evidence what this might be but one option may be a nuclear bomb that would indiscriminately wipe out satellites within a huge volume of space! Not only would it devastate satellites but would cause more problems down on the surface and create a whole load of space junk. 

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New NASA Report Suggests We Could See Space-Based Power After 2050

Space-based solar power (SBSP) has been in the news recently, with the successful test of a solar power demonstrator in space taking place last summer. While the concept is fundamentally sound, there are plenty of hurdles to overcome if the technology is to be widely adopted – not the least of which is cost. NASA is no stranger to costly projects, though, and they recently commissioned a study from their internal Office of Technology, Policy, and Strategy that suggests how NASA could continue to support this budding idea. Most interestingly, if the technological cards are played right, SBSP could be the most carbon-efficient, lowest-cost power source for humanity by 2050.

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NASA Launches a New Mission to Study the Effects of Climate Change

NASA's PACE mission launches from Cape Canaveral on Feb. 9th, 2024. Credit: NASA

NASA’s Plankton, Aerosol, Climate, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) satellite successfully launched and reached on Thursday, February 10th. The mission took off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, at 1:33 am EST 10:33 pm (PST) atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. About five minutes after launch, NASA confirmed that ground stations on Earth had acquired a signal from the satellite and were receiving data on its operational status and capabilities post-launch. For the next three years, the mission will monitor Earth’s ocean and atmosphere and study the effects of climate change.

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This Alien Landscape is Actually a Microscopic View of an Atomic Clock

This looks like the landscape feature called penitentes that form in the icy cold on Pluto. But it's actually a glass surface that's part of an atomic clock. Image Credit: Safran/ESA

Navigation satellites couldn’t accomplish anything without extremely accurate clocks. But a regular clock won’t do. Only atomic clocks are accurate enough, and that’s because they tell time with electrons.

Those atomic clocks wear out over time, and that’s what the image shows.

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Satellite Data Shows US East Coast is Sinking

Map shows vertical land motion along the East Coast. The yellow, orange and red areas on these maps denote areas of sinking. Image courtesy of Leonard Ohenhen.Virginia Tech.

Based on satellite imagery, geologists have determined major cities on the U.S. Atlantic coast are sinking, some areas as much as 2 to 5 millimeters (.08-0.2 inches) per year. Called subsidence, this sinking of land is happening at a faster rate than was estimated just a year ago. In a new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, researchers say their analysis has far-reaching implications for community and infrastructure resilience planning, particularly for roadways, airport runways, building foundations, rail lines, and pipelines.

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Japan’s New X-Ray Observatory Sees First Light

Supernova remnant N132D lies in the central portion of the Large Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf galaxy about 160,000 light-years away. XRISM’s Xtend captured the remnant in X-rays, displayed in the inset. Although bright in X-rays, the stellar wreckage is almost invisible in the ground-based background view taken in optical light. Credit: Inset, JAXA/NASA/XRISM Xtend; background, C. Smith, S. Points, the MCELS Team and NOIRLab/NSF/AURA

XRISM, the X-ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission, is a joint NASA/JAXA mission led by JAXA. The X-ray space telescope began its mission in low-Earth orbit on September 6th, 2023. Science operations won’t begin until later this year, but the satellite’s science team has released some of the telescope’s first images.

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