- The fall of the Rhessi satellite highlights the growing issue of space debris and the need to address this problem.
- With over 8,000 metric tons of space debris orbiting the Earth, there is a serious risk to the safety of astronauts and the functioning of satellites.
NASA has reported Rhessi satellite, which had been studying the sun for over a decade, fell to Earth over the Sahara Desert on Thursday. While some pieces of the 660-pound (300-kilogram) satellite were expected to survive the reentry and hit the ground, NASA officials have confirmed that they have received no reports of damage or injury.
Launched in 2002, Rhessi had been studying solar flares and coronal mass ejections from the sun. It was turned off in 2018 due to a communication problem. Rhessi, the Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager, provided valuable data and insights into the sun’s activity.
Space Debris and The Risk It Poses
The fall of a Rhessi satellite highlights the growing issue of space debris as more and more objects are launched into space.
- It leads to the accumulation of debris that can pose a risk to existing satellites and future space missions.
- It is estimated that there are currently over 8,000 metric tons of space debris orbiting the Earth, posing a serious threat to the safety of astronauts and the functioning of satellites.
While Rhessi’s fall did not cause any harm, it is a reminder that steps need to be taken to address the issue of space debris.
Importance of Studying The Sun and Rhessi Satellite’s Legacy
Understanding the sun’s activity and its impact on the Earth is crucial for predicting and mitigating the effects of space weather, which can cause disruptions to communication systems, power grids, and other vital infrastructure.
While the Rhessi satellite may have fallen to Earth, its legacy lives on through the valuable data it provided on the sun’s activity.