Video shows the accumulation of space debris over the years.
Would you believe there are almost 20,000 pieces of debris orbiting the Earth right now, and more is accumulating every year? Well, it’s true, and a new visualization is taking a graphic look at the amount of space junk that is surrounding us. You can see it here on YouTube.
This new look at the space junk problem is a creation of Dr. Stuart Grey, who is a lecturer at University College London and a part of the Space Geodesy and Navigation Laboratory. He created the clip in the hope he could call attention to what he considers an ongoing issue and quite a problem.
The space junk has been increasing since we first started sending objects into Earth orbits back in 1957, and this visualization takes a look at the collection from the beginning through 2015.
Space trash is already a problem, causing space agencies to adjust orbits of existing satellites to avoid collisions with the trash, which can do major damage to components and cause communication disruptions according to a story on scienceworldreport.com.
The International Space Station (ISS) was struck by space debris which caused a bullet-sized hole in its solar panels when contact was made. Space trash can affect rocket launches and would be devastating to an astronaut during a spacewalk mission outside of the capsule.
Though a solution to the problem has not yet been finalized, space agencies are at least working on one. Proposals such as blasting the debris out of orbit with some type of a laser device, to an outer-space trash truck, with a robotic arm that would collect the junk as it passes by for later disposal, have been under consideration.
The problem isn’t just going to go away on its own, however, and it is likely the amount of space junk will continue to increase as more launches are planned in the future. Everyone agrees that new policies on the creation and disposal of space junk are needed to maintain safety for space travelers and the costly equipment currently orbiting the planet.