Space junk: the problem of orbiting trash


Guests: Jonathan McDowell, Lisa Ruth Rand

There’s a lot of junk flying around in space — defunct satellites, broken probes, exploded rocket parts and small chips of paint.  There’s growing concern that all this orbiting trash is a threat to space missions (as depicted in the Oscar-winning movie “Gravity”) and could damage essential space instruments, the tools critical for our communication, transportation, energy and military networks. The Pentagon is expected to award a contract to build a space fence that would track and warn of flying debris.  This hour, Marty talks about the problem of space litter with guests JONATHAN MCDOWELL, an Astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and LISA RUTH RAND, a space historian finishing her doctoral degree at the University of Pennsylvania.

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