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  • Arts & Culture
  • Issue 40

Space Junk

In conversation with a space archaeologist. Words by Sala Elise Patterson. Photograph by Charles Carpenter/Field Museum Library/Alamy.

Humans have left about 34, 000 objects in space. Some are predictable (satellites), others not (discarded zip ties, and Elon Musk’s personal Tesla Roadster). Dr. Alice Gorman is a space archaeologist who is fascinated by this “space junk” and what it tells us about humanity and our future. Gorman began her career studying Aboriginal archaeology in her native Australia. Contemplation of the sky one night in 2002 led to an epiphany: Space is full of orbital junk with an archaeological

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