Here’s what I’ve been learning from the National Geographic: Exploring Space issue:
One thing in space that is not so great is space junk. Sure, space is bigger than we can come close to imagining and then some, but throwing junk out there still doesn’t seem right. I guess when a satellite runs out of power or breaks down they can’t be refueled or fixed at this point, so the shoot themselves out of their Earth orbit into a higher one or just into space, becoming space junk.
A while back there was a collision between two satellites and one broke apart into a bajillion pieces. Those pieces are even worse space junk than the dead satellites because they could affect us. They are orbiting Earth on their own, super fast due to the collision, and many are unpredictable, so they could damage other satellites up there and disrupt our lives down here.
Apparently a satellite repair-bot is in the works where it can fly up and fix things and refuel different satellites so they don’t become space junk. Will there also be a space vacuum cleaner that can suck up the junk that’s in the way? That would be nice.