This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
As if we don't already have enough to worry about, here's something else to add to the list space junk.
It's a real problem, as demonstrated in "Space Junk 3D," which opens Feb. 3 at the Clark Planetarium. In 38 minutes, this cool-looking film builds a case that we've mucked up space the way we've mucked up the Earth.
Turns out there are thousands of leftover rocket pieces and dead satellites (in addition to nearly a thousand working satellites) in orbit. That junk doesn't just fall back toward Earth and burn up. Those pieces of junk have started crashing into each other, creating more pieces.
The process will continue indefinitely. That's a problem when a single paint chip traveling 15,000 mph can wreck a satellite or the International Space Station.
"Space Junk 3D" makes outstanding use of the IMAX 3-D technology, from a trip to Meteor Crater in Arizona to representations of deepest space. Despite the rather ominous message, it's a fascinating journey.
Scott D. Pierce
Space Junk 3D
Fascinating and slightly scary movie shows how humans are making a mess of outer space.
Where • Clark Planetarium.
When • Opens Friday, Feb. 3.
Rating • Not rated. (It's a definite G, however.)
Running time • 38 minutes.