|MadSci Network: Astronomy|
Hello Sandra, We are indeed polluting space, just as we are polluting the rest of our environment. And while we have the means to collect the garbage others spread around on earth, collecting the space debris is a much more challenging problem. As is often the case, the early users of space were the least responsible, leaving not only the spacecraft, but trash and other "expendable" items circling our globe at incredible (and quite dangerous) speeds. Agencies putting satelites and people into space have gotten a bit more responsible of late, but as more and more satelites are put into Earth's orbit, the problem will continue to grow. At this point, scientists are tracking the larger space debris, to help make sure a valuable spacecraft or human life is not unnecessarily endangered. There are actually "free" spaces that are used as launch zones to make things a bit safer, but several times, the space shuttle has had to change it's trajectory to avoid the chance of being hit by a piece of debris. At this point, scientists don't really have a solution, but at least they are doing a better job of not creating more junk than is necessary. You can look at this web site I found to give you some more information! http://whyfiles.org/101spaceflaw/5.html Doug Eaton
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