Web

Report: Space junk problem critical, spacecraft and satellites at risk

report space junk problem critical spacecraft and satellites at riskAccording to scientists in the US, there’s so much garbage floating around in space that if it’s not dealt with soon it could damage spacecraft or wreck important satellites.

Now when we say garbage, we’re not talking about discarded milk cartons and candy wrappers that have somehow found their way into orbit. This garbage, otherwise known as space junk, consists of old boosters, long-forgotten satellites and masses of tiny fragments.

The National Research Council, which has just published a report about the problem, has warned NASA that the matter has to be addressed because the situation is now at tipping point.

Incredibly, there’s so much of the stuff that even the International Space Station has to sometimes dodge out of the way of it, with a potentially damaging collision almost happening as recently as June. And when you learn that the junk moves at speeds of up to 17,500 mph (28,164 km/h), it’s not difficult to imagine the kind of damage it could do.

According to Donald Kessler, who studied the space junk issue for the National Research Council, the situation has been exacerbated by two major events in the last four years.

The first of these was in 2007 when a decommissioned weather satellite was blown up by China as part of an anti-satellite weapon test. The explosion caused the destroyed satellite to fragment into more than 150,000 pieces. Then in 2009, a collision between two satellites added further to the mass of orbiting debris.

Kessler said that these two events “doubled the amount of fragments in Earth’s orbit and completely wiped out what we had done in the last 25 years.”

The National Research Council, which claims the orbiting mess “is raising the risk of spacecraft failures,” has suggested the introduction of international regulations to prevent the build-up of even more junk.

On the subject of clearing the garbage, the report mentions the use of enormous magnetic nets and umbrella-shaped devices that could either push the debris closer to Earth, where it would burn up, or further into space, away from orbiting satellites.

[Source: BBC]

[Image: NASA]

Mobile

Sign In with Apple sticks it to Google and Facebook, for the good of everyone

Apple wants you to use its new Sign In with Apple service, which promises to free you from password hell, without selling your soul to the advertising devil. Is it worth using when it launches this year?
Photography

Looking for free public domain images? Here are the best websites to find them

Wouldn't it be wonderful to freely download and use an image from the web without the looming fear of prosecution? Of course! That's why we've put together a list of the best places to download free public domain images.
Movies & TV

Save a few bucks with the best free feature-length movies on YouTube

Bank account emptier than you thought? Check out our curated list of the best full-length movies on YouTube to find flicks that are free, legally uploaded, and actually worth watching.
Web

NSA warns about Windows exploit, ignores its own role in creation of malware

In a rare occurrence, the National Security Agency has published a statement urging people to update their Windows systems to protect against the BlueKeep vulnerability, a recently-detailed wormable exploit affecting Windows 7 and earlier.
Web

Maker Media, the company behind MAKE magazine and Maker Faire events, shuts down

Sad news for DIY enthusiasts: Maker Media, the company which runs the Maker Faire events and which produces the magazine MAKE, is shutting down. The company has laid off all its staff and is ceasing operations.
Computing

Paid browsers are the future, and Firefox might offer a better deal than Chrome

Just like Google, Mozilla is planning on offering premium web-browsing services. Unlike Google, however, it seems like Mozilla might have a better strategy for encouraging users to subscribe to its future premium plans.
Computing

Opera GX is a browser for gamers, but the actual gaming is still to come

Every company seems to have a product line or two aimed squarely at gamers, so why not browsers too? Opera has a new branch of its main browser called Opera GX and it's designed specifically with gamers in mind.
Mobile

Amazon Prime Day 2019 will likely be on July 15, according to leaked email

It looks like we now have an idea of when Amazon Prime Day 2019 will be, thanks to a leaked email that was sent out to promote a vacuum cleaner deal for Prime Day. According to the email, the massive shopping event will take place on July…
Social Media

Here's how to unblock someone on Facebook when you've had a change of heart

Maybe you were a little too hasty blocking that one person on Facebook ... or maybe you just want to do a little spying to see what they're up to. Either way, you can fix the situation easily. Here's how to unblock someone on Facebook.
Music

The best free music download sites that are totally legal

Finding music that is both free and legal to download can be difficult. We've hand-picked a selection of the best free music download sites for you to legally download your next favorite album.
Computing

Dropbox’s all-new desktop app wants to be your one and only workspace

Dropbox has unveiled its most significant update yet as it continues to move away from its original core service as a place to store files in the cloud, toward a virtual workspace solution that offers all services in-app.
Social Media

Here's how to link your Instagram, Facebook accounts for social syncing

Instagram and Facebook go hand in hand. Here's how you can make the most of the superior integration offered by the two social media behemoths, which should help your pics gain more exposure in the long run.
Outdoors

For $5,000, Airbnb will take you around the world in 80 days. Airfare included

Airbnb's new Adventures allow travelers can book a mix of accommodations, food, and experiences in what Airbnb calls "bucket list" worthy trips, including a round-the-world trip for just $5,000
Home Theater

Netflix can drain your data in a hurry. Here's how to turn it down a notch

Ever wondered how much data you need to stream a show (or movie) on Netflix? You aren't alone. The answer could be anywhere from 1GB per hour to 7GB per hour, but there's more to it than that. Here's how to control your Netflix data.