Space: Dodging Celestial Garbage

Right now, there are 3,800 pieces of junk circling the earth

To the minstrels of medieval Europe, the moon was a kind of celestial junkyard. They consigned to lunar banishment a dolorous assortment of such earthly intangibles as broken vows, fruitless tears and misspent time. Today the moon is a repository of more substantial material: it harbors a pile of gear, left behind by Apollo astronauts, that includes one moon buggy, $5 million worth of camera equipment and two golf balls that Alan Shepard whacked with a makeshift six iron to unplayable lies in...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!