Saturday, 4 February 2012


A NASA report revealed in September the amount of space junk orbiting earth has reached a 'tipping point' where continual collisions are thickening the already dense cloud shrouding the Earth.

 Since the first object, Sputnik One, was launched into space 53 years ago, mankind has created a swarm of perhaps tens of millions of items of debris.

The rubbish circling the planet comes from old rockets, abandoned satellites and missile shrapnel.

It is estimated that there are 370,000 pieces of space junk floating in Earth's orbit, travelling at speeds of up to 22,000mph.

In practical terms, it means that the amount of junk floating around the planet will make it increasingly difficult for spacecraft to leave the planet, effectively trapping us on earth.

It also poses 'potentially catastrophic risk' to astronauts, satellites and the International Space Station, according to retired NASA senior scientist Donald Kessler, who authored the report.

The report, Limiting future collision risk to spacecraft, was commissioned by NASA last April to evaluate its programmes on 'space junk', officially known as MMOD (Micrometeoroids and Orbital Debris).

While it says that the current U.S. programmes have used their resources well, it notes that there was a 10 year-plan between 1981 and 1991 to combat the problem, there has been no concerted effort since 1991.

Full story source: Daily Mail


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