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The vast frontier of outer space is getting crowded — with junk

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Friday, September 15, 2023 - 11:27am

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Rocket launches
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company's Dragon spacecraft is launched on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-7 mission to the International Space Station on Aug. 26, 2023.

Here’s a headline grabber for you: There are nearly 100 bags of human waste on the moon. And that’s just a small piece of the problem that so-called "space junk" has become.

There are also tons of spacecraft remains from more than 50 crashed landings, things like rocket boosters and parts. And, there’s an odd collection of other stuff up there — golf balls, boots, cameras, even a feather. And that’s not to mention the thousands of satellites zooming around Earth in near orbit.

And, the problem of space junk is only growing. There are around 100 new lunar missions planned over the next decade.

In short, the vast frontier of outer space is getting crowded.

Chris Impey, a university distinguished professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona, spoke with The Show more about the space junk problem.

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