SPACE PHOTOS THIS WEEK: Jet Blasts, Saturn Moon, More

SPACE PHOTOS THIS WEEK: Jet Blasts, Saturn Moon, More
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September 12, 2009--A computer model maps the almost 19,000 human-made objects larger than 3.9 inches (10 centimeters) that are currently orbiting Earth--both working spacecraft and defunct debris.

The picture, recently released by NASA's Earth Observatory Web site, shows the telltale ring around the planet that marks geostationary orbit. This is the level at which satellites orbit at about the same rate that Earth spins, allowing them to "lock" over a particular point on the surface. Geostationary orbits are crucial for weather and communications satellites.
— Illustration courtesy NASA, Orbital Debris Program Office
 
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