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Space Junk

Book Program
Year Levels


Managing waste has become a critical issue in Australia and around the world. Now we are facing another waste crisis, that of what to do with the rubbish in left in space and on the moon.

Space debris is also known as orbital debris, space junk, space waste, space trash, space litter or space garbage. More than 500,000 pieces of debris, or “space junk,” are tracked as they orbit the Earth. They all travel at speeds up to 17,500 mph, fast enough for a relatively small piece of orbital debris to damage a satellite or a spacecraft.

The rising amount of space debris increases the potential danger to space vehicles, but especially to the International Space Station, space shuttles and other spacecraft with humans aboard. NASA takes the threat of collisions with space debris seriously and has a long-standing set of guidelines on how to deal with each potential collision threat.

Key Learning Question

How do we resolve the issue of space junk?

Prior Knowledge

In small groups, students will be required to do some research and design a scientific poster outlining their proposed solution to the issue of space junk and bring this with them on the day. Support material will be provided in the form of an information booklet and the Ecolinc Learn Online course Space junk.

Learning Intentions

In this program students will:

  • Explore the concept of space junk as a waste issue
  • Learn about the range of possible cleanup solutions to address the issue of space junk
  • Learn how to use a scientific method approach to test the functionality of a spacesuit glove


Students will:

  • Research the issue of space junk and design a clean-up solution
  • Use the design thinking approach to design and make a spacesuit glove that can be used by astronauts on the space station
  • Participate in a group scenario moon mission activity
  • Engage in a Virtual Reality (VR) space shuttle experience


  • Maximum number of students for this program is 50 per day

Victorian Curriculum

Science – Science as a human endeavour

  • Scientific understandings, discoveries and inventions are used to inform personal and community decisions and to solve problems that directly affect people’s lives (VCSSU073)

Science – Analysing and evaluating

  • Suggest improvements to the methods used to investigate a question or solve a problem (VCSIS087)

Learning Continuum

The following Learning Continuum is a guide for teachers to show the links between the programs. Ecolinc offers onsite, online and through outreach. The Learning Continuum can be used to access Ecolinc resources to support the development of units of work.

Ecolinc Learn Online is an online learning management system offering interactive online courses for students and teachers. These courses can be undertaken either as a pre-visit, post-visit or stand-alone. Students are encouraged to do the pre-learning course prior to coming to Ecolinc.

Learn Online Pre-program:

☞ Introducing Space Junk


☞ Space Junk