A very nice shot of the Pacific Northwest with minimal cloud cover. Notice the Willamette Valley in Western Oregon.
More than 500,000 pieces of debris, or “space junk,” are tracked as they orbit the Earth. They all travel at speeds up to 17,500 mph, fast enough for a relatively small piece of orbital debris to damage a satellite or a spacecraft.
In the 50-plus years that humans have been zipping through space more than 6,000 satellites have been launched. While some have made their way back down to Earth, more than 3,600 remain in orbit.
- It’s estimated that between 100 and 150 tons of space junk re-enters our atmosphere each year — with the vast majority of it burning up before it hits the ground.
- Scientists are looking to develop methods of removing some of the space junk that’s currently in orbit.
- Some worry that if we don’t act fast enough, the Kessler syndrome will be observed. This would occur if space debris continues to pile up, eventually reaching the point where it would be impossible to launch new objects without creating a collision.
Stuff in Space
Stuff in Space is a realtime 3D map of objects in Earth orbit, visualized using WebGL. (Shown above)
Stuff in Space on GitHub, by James Yoder.: https://github.com/jeyoder/ThingsInSpace
The US. department of Defense maintains an accurate log of all the objects in the Earth’s orbit that are larger than a softball — and if you’d like to get an idea of what all that might look like, you can — via an interactive map called Orbital Objects. http://www.alexras.info/code/orbital_objects/
The rising population of space debris increases the potential danger to all space vehicles, but especially to the International Space Station, space shuttles and other spacecraft with humans aboard.
NASA takes the threat of collisions with space debris seriously and has a long-standing set of guidelines on how to deal with each potential collision threat. These guidelines, part of a larger body of decision-making aids known as flight rules, specify when the expected proximity of a piece of debris increases the probability of a collision enough that evasive action or other precautions to ensure the safety of the crew are needed.
Space debris encompasses both natural (meteoroid) and artificial (man-made) particles. Meteoroids are in orbit about the sun, while most artificial debris is in orbit about the Earth. Hence, the latter is more commonly referred to as orbital debris.
Orbital debris is any man-made object in orbit about the Earth which no longer serves a useful function. Such debris includes nonfunctional spacecraft, abandoned launch vehicle stages, mission-related debris and fragmentation debris.
There are more than 20,000 pieces of debris larger than a softball orbiting the Earth. They travel at speeds up to 17,500 mph, fast enough for a relatively small piece of orbital debris to damage a satellite or a spacecraft. There are 500,000 pieces of debris the size of a marble or larger. There are many millions of pieces of debris that are so small they can’t be tracked.
China has launched a lunar rover, only the third country to do so after the United States and the Soviet Union. The rover, named Jade Rabbit (called Yutu in Chinese) is solar-powered, has 6 wheels and four cameras. It also has mechanical arms that can dig soil samples up to 30 meters deep. It can travel up to 200 meters per hour and weighs 120 kg.
Yatu’s mission is to explore the moon’s surface and look for natural resources. The rover was able to send photos of itself back to Earth. A rover “selfie.” Link
Mars One first mission planned for 2018: Mars One will establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. Unmanned missions will prepare a habitable living environment. Crews of four will depart every two years, starting in 2023 or 2024. Our first unmanned spacecraft will land on Mars in 2018. Mars One website: http://www.mars-one.com/en/
Can I apply to become an astronaut?-It is currently not possible to apply. The closing date of this first online astronaut application round was 31 August 2013. Mars One will start new selection programs regularly, so you will have the possibility to apply for subsequent astronaut selection programs.
If you want to stay up to date, you can sign up for the Mars One Newsletter, and receive all Mars One updates.
View these application videos: https://applicants.mars-one.com/
Best Applications for a one-way trip to Mars: National Geographic’s Picks
Mars One will conduct a global search to find the best candidates for the first human mission to Mars. The combined skill set of each astronaut team member must cover a very wide range of disciplines. The astronauts must be intelligent, creative, psychologically stable and physically healthy. On this page, Mars One offers a brief introduction to the basics of our astronaut selection process.
Five Key Characteristics of an Astronaut:
- Ability to Trust
- Creativity / Resourcefulness
Age requirements , physical and medical requirements, country of origin and language (English will be official language) area all part of the selection process.
Here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions