Leo - Little Earth Orbiter
Hi everyone! This is our mascot Leo and he's helping us build drag sails. Later this year, he's going to be floating around in microgravity, just like an astronaut.
Today, he wants to tell you about a big problem that we're all facing - space junk!
Junk in Space
Right now, there are over 3,000 satellites zooming around Earth above us. They help us do a lot of things, including tracking weather, taking pictures of Earth and far away galaxies, and helping us communicate with people on the other side of the planet. But not everything in space is useful. Space is also full of junk; dead satellites, parts of rockets, tools astronauts lost during spacewalks and much more smaller pieces of debris. These bits of junk are travelling so fast that they can destroy a spacecraft if they bump into it, or seriously injure our astronauts. Even tiny dust particles or flecks of paint act like tiny bullets.
We're all trying to do our bit to try and clean up space, starting with making sure that new satellites aren't abandoned in space. Team LEOniDAS are building drag sails, which slow down the satellites and cause them to fall towards Earth. As they get closer to Earth, and the atmosphere gets denser, they start to get really hot and burn up in the Earth's atmosphere. A company called ClearSpace is working with the European Space Agency to build a satellite that will use robotic arms to grab onto dead satellites and remove them from space. RemoveDERBIS is trying to do the same thing, but they'll be using a harpoon to catch the satellites.
Do you have any other ideas about how we can clean up space?
Maybe giant space nets? Or a space hoover? Or a team of robots?
ARE YOU IN KEY STAGE 2?
If you're currently in primary school in the UK and aged between 7-12 you can take part in our competition! To learn more about space debris, watch this video the European Space Agency put together.
HELP US CLEAN UP SPACE!
Print the worksheet and show us how you would clean up junk in space! Don't forget to colour in our mascot, Leo, give them a new name and add some accessories they might need, like aviator goggles or an astronaut suit.
WIN YOUR OWN FLYING SQUIRREL TEDDY!
Get a parent or teacher to send us a photo or scanned copy of your idea. The top artists/engineers will be sent a certificate and we'll publish your design on our website. The winner of the competition will receive their very own custom Leo who will be floating in zero gravity with us before making their way to you!
Submit Your Ideas
AND HELP US CLEAN UP SPACE!
To submit your design, simply send us an email at email@example.com by Friday, 8th October 2021, and include the following details:
Subject Line: Leo Competition Submission
Your first name
A scanned copy/photo of your worksheet