Burned-up space junk pollutes Earth’s upper atmosphere, NASA planes find | Space

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Scientists have long thought that the burning up of space junk in Earth’s atmosphere creates air pollution that can affect the planet’s climate. Now, for the first time, they’ve managed to detect the presence of these pollutants in the air high above our planet.

A team of researchers flew high-altitude NASA aircraft over Alaska and the U.S. mainland to sample the chemical composition of the thin air in the stratosphere, the second-lowest layer of Earth’s atmosphere, which extends from about 6 miles to 30 miles (10 to 50 kilometers) above the planet’s surface.

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