When the New Horizons spacecraft met up with Pluto last month, astronomers christened one of the features Sputnik Planum (Sputnik Plain), a nod to the Russian satellite Sputnik 1. Sputnik was launched on October 4, 1957, kicking off the space age in the process.
(Read our coverage of the New Horizons Pluto flyby here.)
Fast-forward 58 years, and now we’ve got more than 21,000 objects larger than 10cm orbiting the Earth, according to the United States Space Surveillance Network. From debris, to rocket bodies, to satellites, you’ll wonder how astonomers can peer out of the ball of yarn surrounding our little blue marble.
Thanks to Stuff-in-Space, a real-time, 3D visualization, you can view all of these objects orbiting Earth. The brainchild of James Yoder, Electrical and Computer Engineering student at the University of Texas at Austin, Stuff-in-Space is an easy-to-use interactive visualization tool that updates daily with orbit data from Space-Track.
See for yourself. (Warning this site may keep you occupied for hours.)
--iSGTW is becoming the Science Node. Watch for our new branding and website this September.