A record 180 rockets were successfully launched into orbit last year — a third more than in 2021, according to data analyzed by Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Sixty-one of these launches were conducted by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, with 62 successful launches by the Chinese government and businesses.
Most of the SpaceX rockets were carrying its Starlink internet communications satellites, which with more than 3,300 in low Earth orbit make up the largest constellation to date. The company plans to eventually launch as many as 42,000.
McDowell estimates that there are more than 4,500 large objects weighing 100 kg or more in low Earth orbit. The recent rapid increase in their numbers adds to scientists’ concerns about the risk of collisions that could create more space debris, potentially triggering a phenomenon known as Kessler syndrome.
This theory suggests that if space traffic continues to grow and more collisions occur, additional debris may fly into the path of other satellites and start a chain reaction of cascading collisions, eventually becoming so prevalent that it destroys satellites and space. disrupts flights.
Our other charts of the week. , ,
For Europe, 2022 was the year of the ubiquitous energy crisis. Russia cut all but 10 percent of its gas exports to the European Union in retaliation for the bloc’s support for Ukraine. Half of France’s nuclear industry had to be shut down because of a crack in its reactors. A severe drought hampered hydropower generation.
As a result, Europe faced an energy supply shortfall of around 7 percent of its total needs.
The EU partially filled the gap with highly polluting coal power, but new research from think-tank Amber shows that for the first time wind and solar power generated more electricity than gas.
Twenty EU countries set new records for the amount of solar power produced, and it grew 24 percent year-on-year across the bloc. The EU used only two-thirds of the additional 22 million tonnes of coal imported.
Russia’s revenue from fossil fuel exports has declined significantly in recent months, after Germany stopped importing Russian oil by pipeline in late December. It is set to fall further after EU sanctions on oil products come into effect this month.
As a result, Moscow is set to shrink from the windfall generated by last year’s sharp rise in fuel prices.
The loss of revenue could hamper Vladimir Putin’s ability to finance the war in Ukraine. The sanctions and the cost of the invasion have taken their toll on Russia’s economy, making the country more dependent on revenue from fossil fuel exports.
Last month EU foreign ministers agreed a seventh tranche of aid for Ukraine, allocating €500 million ($542 million) for military aid.
This is small compared to overall military, economic and humanitarian aid from EU institutions and member states, which reached almost €52 billion by November according to research from the Ukraine Support Tracker, run by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. There is a database. ,
So far, the US is the only country that has pledged $50.9 billion in military, financial and humanitarian assistance.
However, these sums still require further support for Kyiv. The World Bank estimates the total destruction caused by Russia since the start of the war last year at €349bn.
A growing number of countries are offering more paid leave in an effort to reverse record-low birth rates.
South Korea announced earlier this year that it would soon allow couples to take up to a year and a half of parental leave. Japan has also increased leave entitlements for both parents.
Many countries have implemented policies that specifically reserve some proportion of the overall leave entitlement for fathers. For example, Nordic countries have a non-transferable “use it or lose it” period for each parent.
Austria, Canada and Germany offer couples a bonus week of additional paid leave when both parents take time off to care for their children.
But paternity leave eligibility varies widely between developed countries. America and Israel do not give anything.
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