Earth is on the verge of having its own Saturn-like rings, a scientist believes. The only problem? These rings will be basically made of waste.
Space exploration initiatives have caused an increase in the number of satellites and probes that remain in Earth orbit, many even after exceeding their target. As with everything human, no one thought that clutter in space would become a problem.
The debris now orbiting Earth will take on the visual character of rings, University of Utah professor Jake Abbott recently told the Salt Lake Tribune.
Rings made from waste
“The Earth is on the way to having its own rings,” he said while adding that “they will just be made of junk.”
This is bad news, as space debris and congestion in space is already causing problems for functioning satellites and future probes. According to the European Space Agency, there are currently 170 million space debris in orbit.
All of these pieces measure over a millimeter. About 670,000 of them are over half an inch.
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As space exploration becomes a largely privatized enterprise, more launches and more probes should become a reality. The danger is extreme, especially if the satellites that want to facilitate connectivity on Earth end up colliding with each other. In such a case, not only could disruptions in connectivity afflict the Earth, but more space debris would appear.
For Abbott, the use of magnets is a new way to collect space waste. In an article published in Nature, Abbott explained how attaching magnets to a robotic arm to create electrical currents called vortices could help control and slow down space junk.
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In a conversation with the Salt Lake Tribune, he called it “the world’s first tractor beam”.
What do you think of the Earth’s potential waste ring? Let us know in the comments below. To learn more about the world of science and technology, keep reading Indiatimes.com.
LaVecchia, V. (2021, November 13). Space pollution may soon give Earth its own rings. Did the Utah team find a solution in magnets? The Salt Lake City Tribune.