Haley’s Comet is making a return of sorts. Bits of the famous comet will be hitting Earth’s atmosphere and lighting up from Oct. 20 to Oct. 23. It should be a beautiful sight for amateur astronomers.
While this type of event isn’t frequently associated with space weather, ballistic hazards do pose a threat to spacecraft. Small objects, including meteoroids and “space junk” (bits of old spacecraft) pose a huge threat to our space-borne communications. Even grain-sized objects are moving so fast that they can pierce solar panels, insulation, and other parts. Large objects can obliterate spacecraft, creating a new wave of space junk, which can cause a cascade of destruction around the Earth. Space junk is serious business.