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European Space Agency Risking a Potentially Catastrophic Collision

ESA said Tuesday that it reached out early to SpaceX and was informed that no maneuver was planned for the Starlink satellite

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European, Space Agency, Collision
FILE - A digital representation of the Aeolus wind satellite is seen in this handout image from the European Space Agency, Aug. 21, 2018. VOA

The European Space Agency says it has performed an evasive maneuver with one of its satellites after rival SpaceX said it wouldn’t move its own spacecraft out of the way, risking a potentially catastrophic collision.

ESA said Tuesday that it “reached out early to SpaceX and was informed that no maneuver was planned for the Starlink satellite before the close approach.”

The agency said the manual maneuver Monday didn’t affect operations of the Aeolus satellite, which was launched in August 2018 to measure global wind speeds and directions, thereby improving weather forecasts.

European, Space Agency, Collision
The European Space Agency says it has performed an evasive maneuver with one of its satellites after rival SpaceX said it wouldn’t move its own spacecraft out of the way. Pixabay

ESA says the advent of so-called mega constellations like Starlink, consisting of hundreds or thousands of satellites, means collision avoidance maneuvers will need to be automated in future.

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SpaceX didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. (VOA)

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Hundreds of Mourners Gather to Commemorate Loss of yet another European Glacier

Dressed in mourning clothes, they hiked for hours in the Glarus Alps in eastern Switzerland to reach the remnants of the Pizol glacier

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Mourners, European, Glacier
People climb to the top of what once was the Okjokull glacier, in Iceland, Aug. 18, 2019. VOA

Hundreds of mourners gathered Sunday to commemorate the loss of yet another European glacier.

Dressed in mourning clothes, they hiked for hours in the Glarus Alps in eastern Switzerland to reach the remnants of the Pizol glacier at 2,600 meters above sea level.

The glacier has lost more than 80% of its volume since 2006.

“I have climbed up here countless times,” Matthias Huss, a glaciologist at ETH Zurich university, told the mourners. “It is like the dying of a good friend.”

Mourners, European, Glacier
Hundreds of mourners gathered Sunday to commemorate the loss of yet another European glacier. Pixabay

Last month, About 100 people, including Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir, held a similar ceremony for 700-year-old Okjokull, the first Icelandic glacier lost to climate change.

“We can’t save the Pizol glacier anymore. … Let’s do everything we can, so that we can show our children and grandchildren a glacier here in Switzerland a hundred years from now,” Huss told the gathering.

His call came just two days after millions around the world went on a strike for climate change, inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

The funeral was organized by the activist group Swiss Association for Climate Protection which has collected more than 100,000 signatures to launch an initiative demanding the country reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.

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The Swiss government has voiced its support for the move. (VOA)