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Turnbull and Modi in New Delhi on April 10
Turnbull and Modi in New Delhi on April 10

-Analysis-

"The DPRK North Korea is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the U.S." Coming in response to the U.S. deployment of a navy battle group to the Korean Peninsula, this chilling statement from the North Korean foreign ministry suggests that Donald Trump's muscle-flexing has only raised the stakes in what words come from Kim Jong-un's regime. And the regime's actions? Intelligence reports saying that Pyongyang could be less than two years away from being able to strike the U.S., and with a potential sixth nuclear weapon test this Saturday to mark the birth of late leader Kim Il-sung, the risk of an actual nuclear strike, though remote, is increasing.

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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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