Researchers are highlighting the impact of space debris on Earth in an important reminder of a serious hidden danger.
Ever since space exploration began, sizeable unwanted or discarded objects from defunct rockets and satellites have been floating in orbit randomly, more than 27000 of them. One cracked a window of the International Space Station recently, and just last week a giant piece of the wreckage of a rocket or missile fell on Burma. Space debris not only clutters our skies and presents obstacles to anything travelling through space, but it threatens the satellites on which our human and commercial world depends for communication and observation.
While the problem is recognised, little is being done to clean up our skies of this space litter, or to ensure that obsolete equipment is returned to its source at the end of a mission. The situation is getting worse, as highlighted by Dr Hugh Lewis who heads up the Astronautics Research Group’s space debris section, and who, with colleagues, is doing all he can to promote the issue and the risks to the welfare of Earth, which are considerable.
As I reflected on the amount of junk left behind in the cosmos by the scientists who created and directed them, like the people who throw their plastic drinks bottles out of their car window rather than take them home, I wondered about the litter there is in each of us, filling our minds and obstructing our journey. We are made by the past, shaped by our experiences, but to allow the past to fill our present can be unhelpful as it clouds our focus and perpetuates our fears. You, and I, are unique astral travellers, on our mission and with a clear direction: taking our garbage with us, allowing ourselves to be knocked off path by thoughts and memories, or even people, whose part in our life is finished is a hidden threat to our well-being, like the space debris that threatens Earth.
Hugh Lewis is creating the sound of space debris passing overhead, to make us remember and notice the seriousness of the problem. Listen to your inner wisdom – it will tell you what to let go, safely, and how to keep your inner space tidy. Now is the time to do it.