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'A road trip is full of infinite possibilities'
"A road trip is full of infinite possibilities"
Julie Rambal

LAUSANNE — "We struck off, heading for the horizon with a fever we thought could be cured by accumulating kilometers. But it just riled us up even more. Still, moving quenches something. It eases our melancholy at not having done anything with our lives, at having been born too early and having failed at everything. We weren't gamblers, we missed the boarding time for pirate ships, we never met up in Sherwood Forest. What's left? Motorbikes, my friend."

So begins writer-adventurer Sylvain Tesson's new book, En avant, calme et fou (Forward, Calm and Foolish), published by Editions Albin Michel. The book recounts a quarter century worth of road trips, illustrated with photos from his companion, photographer Thomas Goisque. The travel buddies rolled through India, Russia, Mongolia, Siberia, Finland, China, Serbia, central and southeast Asia, Bhutan, Chile, Nepal, and Madagascar. And on Nov. 5, the Travel Channel aired a documentary about one of their motorized misadventures on a Royal Enfield, the legendary Indian motorcycle, on frozen Lake Khövsgöl Nuur by the Mongolian border.

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Ideas

Artificial Satellite Pollution, Perils For Biodiversity In Space And On Earth

Exploiting space resources and littering it with satellite and other anthropogenic objects is endangering the ecosystem of space, which also damages the earth and its creatures below.

Image of the small satellite NanoRacks-Remove Debris satellite deployed into space by the ISS

Thomas Lewton

Outer space isn’t what most people would think of as an ecosystem. Its barren and frigid void isn’t exactly akin to the verdant canopies of a rainforest or to the iridescent shoals that swim among coral cities. But if we are to become better stewards of the increasingly frenzied band of orbital space above our atmosphere, a shift to thinking of it as an ecosystem — as part of an interconnected system of living things interacting with their physical environment — may be just what we need.

Last month, in the journal Nature Astronomy, a collective of 11 astrophysicists and space scientists proposed we do just that, citing the proliferation of anthropogenic space objects. Thousands of satellites currently orbit the Earth, with commercial internet providers such as SpaceX’s Starlink launching new ones at a dizzying pace. Based on proposals for projects in the future, the authors note, the number could reach more than a hundred thousand within the decade. Artificial satellites, long a vital part of the space ecosystem, have arguably become an invasive species.

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