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Breaking News English .com, Scientists Warn of Space Junk Danger (4th September, 2011)

Scientists have warned that the volume of debris floating around in space is becoming a danger to the International Space Station (ISS). Experts say that the time has come to start cleaning it up. America's space agency NASA estimates that there are around 22,000 objects in orbit that are big enough to track. These include things like spent booster rockets and old satellites. They also say there are countless smaller pieces of scrap that could damage the ISS, space ships travelling to it, and multi-million-dollar satellites. It is such a big problem that the ISS occasionally has to move out of the way to avoid being hit. Donald Kessler, a retired NASA scientist said, "We've lost control of the environment."

Space agencies have come up with many plans over the past few decades to address this problem. Agreements to restrict the amount of new space junk had been working. These agreements are supposed to ensure that anything sent into orbit eventually falls back to Earth and burns up. However, in the past four years, the amount of space junk has doubled. In 2007, China blew up a satellite in a missile test, and in 2009 two satellites crashed while in orbit. These two events changed everything and effectively made previous agreements out of date. There have been several suggestions on how to clear the junk. These include launching large magnets or putting giant nets into space to catch dangerous items.

Classroom handouts, online activities and a listening for this article are at

http://www.breakingnewsenglish.com/1109/110904-space_junk.html



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Scientists have warned that the volume of debris floating around in space is becoming a danger to the International Space Station (ISS). Experts say that the time has come to start cleaning it up. America's space agency NASA estimates that there are around 22,000 objects in orbit that are big enough to track. These include things like spent booster rockets and old satellites. They also say there are countless smaller pieces of scrap that could damage the ISS, space ships travelling to it, and multi-million-dollar satellites. It is such a big problem that the ISS occasionally has to move out of the way to avoid being hit. Donald Kessler, a retired NASA scientist said, "We've lost control of the environment."

Space agencies have come up with many plans over the past few decades to address this problem. Agreements to restrict the amount of new space junk had been working. These agreements are supposed to ensure that anything sent into orbit eventually falls back to Earth and burns up. However, in the past four years, the amount of space junk has doubled. In 2007, China blew up a satellite in a missile test, and in 2009 two satellites crashed while in orbit. These two events changed everything and effectively made previous agreements out of date. There have been several suggestions on how to clear the junk. These include launching large magnets or putting giant nets into space to catch dangerous items.

Classroom handouts, online activities and a listening for this article are at

http://www.breakingnewsenglish.com/1109/110904-space_junk.html


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