This is worse than not cleaning my room, right?
Posted by c. wagner on October 28, 2009
A new study says that space junk in earth orbit will be an increasing problem over the coming years. Bits of old satellites and rockets are flying around up there, sometimes smacking into each other and shattering into even more pieces of space junk. Depending on the design of a satellite, a collision with even the smallest bit of debris could destroy the function of the satellite. Which would create even more space junk.
The number of pieces of space debris has risen by 40 per cent in the past four years alone. The US air force Space Command now tracks 19,000 orbiting objects that are 10 centimetres or more across – including around 800 working satellites – and estimates that there are 500,000 smaller fragments in orbit.
That’s a lot of space crap. And it’s not like we can design a giant vacuum cleaner to suck up all those annoying little bits before they cause more mayhem.
I haven’t heard of any plans to deal with the mess. Maybe we could use little powered robots to kick the junk into different orbits or into the atmosphere so they’d burn up. Yeah, robots. I like robots.