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NASA astronaut Stephen K. Robinson anchored to the International Space Station's robotic arm during a spacewalk in August 2005.

NASA delayed a spacewalk set for Tuesday to replace a faulty communications antenna on the International Space Station after the agency received a "debris notification" for the station.

Why it matters: NASA did not disclose the origin of the debris, but the delay comes roughly two weeks after Russia intercepted a defunct satellite with a missile as part of a test that generated thousands of pieces of debris and forced the seven astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the ISS to take shelter.

  • Debris in Earth's orbit is a major threat to satellites and people in space because both the junk and spacecraft are traveling at extremely high speeds.

The big picture: NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron were set to exit the ISS at 7:10 a.m. EST on Tuesday to replace an antenna system that helps the station speak with flight controllers back on Earth.

  • NASA said in a blog post Tuesday morning that it delayed the walk after the debris threat notification "[d]ue to the lack of opportunity to properly assess the risk it could pose to the astronauts."
  • NASA said the station's communication operations can continue despite the delay.

Of note: The Air Force has attempted to simulate the impact of debris against spacecraft. In one test at Arnold Air Force Base, a 1-inch steel sphere traveling 19,1oo feet per second was able to tear a hole through a 4-inch aluminum plate.

  • The ISS has been hit by debris before. Earlier this year, a piece of junk punched a small hole through one of its robotic arms operated by the Canadian Space Agency, though the damage did not affect its performance.

Go deeper: Russian anti-satellite test reveals dangers of space junk

Go deeper

The most startling facts in 2021 climate report

An unsettling part of the human condition today is that the year you were born will most likely be the coolest year of your life, globally speaking.

By the numbers: Newly released climate data from NOAA, NASA and Berkeley Earth show that the planet has had an unbroken streak of 45 years of warmer than average temperatures.

Updated 9 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker

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