Space Littering

There is so much junk orbiting Earth that it poses hazards to navigation in space, according to a study by the National Research Council.

The U.S. Space Surveillance Network tracks more than 16,000 pieces of debris orbiting the Earth.  The junk includes spent rocket bodies, unused satellites, and other discarded materials — all of which are circling the globe at speeds of more than 17,000 miles per hour.  A lot of the debris was generated when the Chinese government unwisely used a discarded weather satellite as a target for an anti-satellite missile test. There already have been space collisions, and experts fear that the amount of junk will cause even more crashes and damage to vehicles exiting and entering Earth’s atmosphere.

Imagine — there were no man-made objects in Earth orbit until the Russians launched Sputnik in the late 1950s, and only five decades later we have reached a “tipping point” of space debris.  Human beings apparently are just inveterate litterbugs, no matter where they go.  Where is Iron Eyes Cody when we really need him?

1 thought on “Space Littering

  1. I have a friend whose brother is a rocket scientist for NASA and the space junk just drives him crazy. It never occurred to me that there would be space litter until I met my friend, naively I imagined we brought our junk back.


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