CAMBRIDGE, MA - Not only do we scour our world to bring you the latest Weird Science, we also look above it. This week what we found up there, was a lot of trash!
Space junk. Anyone who's seen the movie Gravity could see how it can pose a big problem. But in reality, expensive equipment does sometimes crash into each other, making a big mess of things. There are approximately 22 thousand objects larger than the size of a softball and hundreds of thousands of smaller pieces clogging up the space right above our planet. The reason we haven't launched the USS Sanitation up there to snatch'em all up? This trash is spinning and moving so wildly, it would be too dangerous to collect.
Well, that's until some Boston brainiacs figured out a way to trace the movement of this space junk.
MIT researchers have developed a mathematical algorithm to help future space garbage-men and women (staying p.c. here) anticipate how the trash will travel. Making it easier to one day pick it up.
In fact, the new technique was just tested at the ISS with teeny-tiny, little satellite devices let loose to move around inside the space station in zero-g. Scientists found they could forecast the direction, speed and spin of the floating objects, just by using this algorithm.
Knowing how trash moves in space, will one day make it easier to clean up. And there's nothing weird about wanting less clutter up there.