The Space Junk Problem Is About To Get A Whole Lot Gnarlier
FOR A FEW months in the fall of 1957, citizens of Earth could look up and see the first artificial star. It shone as bright as Spica, but moved across the sky at a much faster clip. Lots of people thought they were seeing Sputnik—Russia’s antennaed, spherical satellite, and the first thing humans had flung into orbit. But it wasn’t: It was the body of the rocket that bore Sputnik to space—and Earth’s first piece of space junk.