“Spacecraft dust” from defunct satellites burning up in Earth’s atmosphere could weaken our planet’s magnetic field, a controversial new paper suggests. 

In the worst-case scenario, the unchecked expansion of commercial satellite “megaconstellations” orbiting Earth, such as SpaceX’s Starlink network, may generate enough magnetic dust to cut our planet’s protective shield in half, potentially leading to satellite disasters and “atmospheric stripping,” the paper’s author told Live Science. 

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