This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

Last updated at 14:53 BST, Thursday, 02 May 2013

Cleaning up space

The earth from space

Could a harpoon be used to clear up junk in space?

A new study has shown that millions of pieces of junk floating in space could be a big hazard for satellites orbiting Earth.

Serious collisions could take place that would damage the satellites we depend on for communication. Scientists fear the problem could get worse unless something is done to clear up the mess.

In this programme Rob and Jen discuss why the problem exists and how a harpoon could be used to clear up some of the mess.

This week's question:

The Russian satellite, Sputnik, was the first man-made object to be blasted into space. Do you know in which year it was launched?

a) 1957

b) 1960

c) 1967

Listen to the programme to find out the answer.


Cleaning up space

End of Section



rubbish; unwanted or useless things


untidy place


broken pieces from a larger object

disposed of

put away somewhere where they won't cause harm


get something back to where it came from


lots of objects in an untidy state

talking rubbish

saying things that are untrue or ridiculous


no longer needed