Cover art for podcast Distillations | Science History Institute

Distillations | Science History Institute

294 EpisodesProduced by Science History InstituteWebsite

Each episode of Distillations podcast takes a deep-dive into a moment of science-related history in order to shed light on the present.

58:05

Space Junk

Outer space is crowded. Satellites, pieces of rocket, and stuff that astronauts left behind, such as cameras and poop, are just floating around. This space junk can pose a threat to our communication systems.

In this episode we talk with Lisa Ruth Rand, a fellow at the Science History Institute, about her upcoming book on space junk. She tells us how space weather—that’s right, there’s space weather—can have an effect on what falls on Earth. She also talks about how our views on space debris reveal our attitudes back on Earth and how space junk truly made the space age global.

Credits

Hosts: Alexis Pedrick and Elisabeth Berry Drago Senior Producer: Mariel Carr Producer: Rigoberto Hernandez Audio Engineer: James Morrison

Resource List

Interview with Marie Ruman. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, January 24, 1978.

Judd, Bridget. “NASA’s Skylab met its demise in Australia more than 40 years ago—but was it really an accident?” Australian Broadcasting Corporation, May 30, 2020. 

The MacNeil/Lehrer Report, “Cosmos 954.” January 25, 1978, American Archive of Public Broadcasting. 

Rand, Lisa Ruth. “Orbital Decay: Space Junk and the Environmental History of Earth’s Planetary Borderlands.” PhD diss., University of Pennsylvania, 2016. 

Rand, Lisa Ruth. “Wasted Space: The History of Orbiting Junk.” Science History Institute, December 5, 2019.

Trudeau, Pierre Elliott. Speech at the House of Commons of Canada, January 24, 1978. 

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