Disposable sats, methane rockets and bacteria in deep space

While it’s too late to do anything but think of clever ways to clean up all the crap we’ve left floating around in orbit, it’s good to know that NASA have redesigned some components of their satellites so that they will burn up entirely on re-entry, rather than crashing into homes or livestock on the surface of the planet. Meanwhile, the upper boost stages of the Voyager and Pioneer launch rockets are headed slowly into deep space – with a cargo of Terran bacteria aboard. Reverse panspermia, anyone? And talking of rockets, you should go and watch thevideo clip of a NASA contractor’s new prototype methane engine being testedd – more noise and lightshow than a Disaster Area gig, with the added bonus of knowing that methane is a cheaper and safer fuel than the current options.