每日英語跟讀 Ep.K126: 中國火箭驚險墜落Chinese rocket’s chaotic fall to Earth highlights problem of space junk
Remnants of China’s biggest rocket landed in the Indian Ocean on May 9, ending days of speculation over where the debris would hit and drawing US criticism over a lack of transparency.
But the fiery fate of a booster rocket, wherever it comes down, speaks to the larger issue of space debris and space sustainability, especially as space becomes a target not just for national space programs but also increasingly the private sector. Under international treaty, private space actors, who are expected to put 45,000 satellites in low Earth orbit over the next several years, are under the legal responsibility of their host nations.
Add to that an estimated 9,300 tonnes of space junk that is already orbiting the planet and the probability of space collisions and debris pollution is an issue of concern.
Previously, a piece of paint the size of a fingernail struck the windscreen of a space shuttle, piercing two of three layers of glass.
The fate of Long March 5B could refocus governments and international bodies on the issue of space sustainability, and that could provide more opportunity to firms like UK-based Astroscale that are preparing to tackle the debris problem with commercial junk-collecting services.
Astroscale is currently demonstrating a vehicle called “ELSA-d” in lower Earth orbit to show that space debris clean-up is indeed possible. It is a fiendishly difficult task, especially if the target satellite is spinning and tumbling. The test is using a satellite to capture a test drone with a magnet. In time, larger objects will require a robotic arm.
Astroscale正在地球較低軌道展示一種名為「ELSA-d」的運載工具，以證明清除太空垃圾的確可行。這是一項艱鉅的任務，尤其是目標衛星處於旋轉與翻滾的情況時。該測試透過衛星進行，以磁鐵來捕獲測試用無人機，最後也會需要用到機械臂來抓取較大的物體。Source article: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2021/05/17/2003757510