As our launches into earth orbit are increasing so is the amount of space debris in the low-Earth orbit. This has become equivalent to a ‘new drifting island of plastic’ in outer space and as per an estimate, it is around six thousand tonnes.
Some experts have warned this to be a threat to all the satellites currently in space orbit. AS per scientific models, there are more than 128 million pieces of space debris that are larger than 1mm, and 34,000 pieces larger than 10cm.
There are about 3,000 active satellites in the orbit, and this number is significantly changing. Companies like SpaceX are sending 60 Starlink satellites at once and are looking to create a constellation of these satellites. But Starlink is not the only company, Amazon and OneWeb are also working on a similar venture.
But the main issue is the 20,000 bits of space debris that space agencies are tracking and as the launches increase, so is their number going to be. And this increases the chance of a space collision more and more. This could lead to Kessler Syndrome – a chain reaction of space objects colliding until they make Earth’s orbit totally unusable.
What is this Space Debris?
It could be anything from the chipped of rocket parts on their launch into space, scratched off paint, defunct satellites, leftover rocket boosters, remains of past explosions in space, all this stuff contributes to the space debris.
And with no measure to control this, the amount of debris keeps on increasing in the space. The size of all this waste might be small, but it could definitely harm a satellite because of the speed at which it is traveling.
Various methods have been proposed to clear the debris or to launch satellites that don’t leave debris. But for now, the waste in space could pose a threat if not taken care of immediately.
To know more about how the debris looks like from space watch this visualizer called AstriaGraph that displays the positions of all actively-tracked objects in the sky.
Humans are not only polluting the Earth but also found a way to pollute outer space. Let us know what are your thoughts on this space debris situation.
For more news: General Motors unveiled a concept flying Cadillac at CES 2021