In a famous scene from the 2008 animated movie WALL-E, a rocket streaks up from Earth’s surface, a tiny robot clinging to its side. Before reaching open space, the rocket punctures a thick layer of old satellites jostling cheek by jowl. As the layer cracks open, space junk erupts, scattering satellites like winged flies. A silver flagellated sphere gets caught in the robot’s head before drifting off. The angles of its antenna are instantly recognizable; it’s Sputnik 1, the first satellite ever launched, now reduced to just another piece of junk in the orbiting scrap yard. The message from this future world is clear. Just as Earth’s surface has been polluted to the point where all human life has abandoned it, so too has the space surrounding Earth been choked with the endlessly circulating junk of the late industrial age.
|Title of host publication||Earth 2020|
|Subtitle of host publication||An Insider’s Guide to a Rapidly Changing Planet|
|Place of Publication||Cambridge, UK|
|Number of pages||7|
|ISBN (Electronic)||978-1-78374-847-1, 978-1-78374-848-8, 978-1-78374-849-5, 978-1-78374-850-1|
|ISBN (Print)||978-1-78374-845-7, 978-1-78374-846-4|
|Publication status||Published - 2020|
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- Space archaeology
- Space industry
- Space exploration