Watch Out for Space Junk

Our friend Chloe H. asked us, how many times could you fly around the world in a spaceship in one day? Satellites fly at 17,000 miles an hour, completing a

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Our friend Chloe H. asked us, how many times could you fly around the world in a spaceship in one day? Satellites fly at 17,000 miles an hour, completing a trip around the Earth in just an hour and a half! But at these speeds, we have a new problem: space junk. Space junk includes satellites that don’t work anymore, floating leftover pieces from rocket boosters, tools dropped during astronaut walks, and so on. If you’re up there doing a space walk, grab some garbage to help us clean up!

Wee ones: If you have 4 pieces of space junk, and 1 of them breaks in half, how many pieces do you have now?

Little kids: If you’ve made 9 trips around Earth so far today, what number is your next trip?  Bonus: How many more trips after that can you make today if you can make 16 trips in total?

Big kids: If you start your orbit at 3:30 pm and the trip takes 1 1/2 hours, at what time will you finish?  Bonus: If there are 40 pieces of space junk in your path, and on each of your 16 trips today you scoop up 3 pieces, can you catch them all?

The sky’s the limit: If you start orbiting Earth today (May 24) and make 16 junk-collecting trips each day, on what date will you make your 100th orbit?

Answers:
Wee ones: 5 pieces.

Little kids: The 10th.  Bonus: 6 more trips.

Big kids: At 5:00 pm.  Bonus: Yes! You’ll be able to catch 48 pieces.

The sky’s the limit: On May 30. You finish 16 trips today, and another 80 trips 5 days after today, which is May 29. That brings you to 96 trips, so the 100th trip happens on May 30.