Space Junk Around Earth And Its Impact.

There are hundreds of thousands of man-made objects roaming around earth like stages of rockets, dead Satellites small parts like nuts and bolts, etc. This trash around the Earth is Referred to as Space Junk ...

What is Space Junk?

There are hundreds of thousands of man-made objects roaming around Earth. Consisting stages of rockets, dead Satellites small parts like nuts and bolts, etc. This trash around the Earth is Referred to as Space Junk.

According to the Technische Universitaet Braunschweig which actively studies satellites in space debris. There are around 29,000 objects bigger than 10cm, which includes 1,900 active satellites. 700,000 objects bigger than 1cm, and an estimated 200,00000 objects bigger than 1 mm.

These millions of objects travel at 28,000 km/h relative to the Earth surrounding our planet.

Space Junk around Earth

The Red Objects are active satellites. The Blue objects are old rocket parts and the and the grey objects are debris(out of commission satellites).

Earth is so massive as compared to this Space Junk. But there is always a high possibility of these objects to crash with active satellites.

In 2009 Iridium 33 and Cosmos-2251 collided. These Satellites was traveling at the speed of 42,000 km/hr. Eventually, they crashed and turned into bits and pieces. And The debris from Iridium 33/Cosmos 2251 Collision is still under observation.

What is the Impact of Space Junk?

Space Junk Impact
The Image Shows the before and After Impact of the Sentinel-1 Satellite. The Impact is due to the collision of space junk only 5mm in size. The red circle on the right side is the impact crater that is 40cm in size.

With so many objects in space and no doubt will keep on increasing and more collision will happen in the near future.

There may be a Kessler syndrome. Kessler Syndrome is a big collision that can happen due to the space junks and the debris will impact other active satellites causing a massive ripple effect.

There’s no threat of Satellites colliding and Impacting Earth Surface. Because If there’s such collision happens then the Earth’s Atmosphere will tear and burn the leftover part before reaching the Earth surface.

On March 27, 2019, India successfully completed an anti-satellite missile test, creating a new cloud of at least 400 pieces of debris, which increased the risk of impacts by 44% to the ISS (Internatinational Space Station).

Getting rid of Space Debris

JAXA, or the Japanese Space Agency, earmarked 100 big objects from the Earth’s orbit at a rate of 5 per year. This will prevent collisions and reduce the threats for future space missions.

There are space mission concepts aimed to de-orbit the space debris manually. The Image below will describe some of them

Removing Space Junk Around Earth
The Image showing ideas which can be used to deorbit space junks like using nets, solar sails to drag them out, slingshots, attaching small engines to deviate the path, etc.

However, this will require a lot of money to get active. But keeping in mind the future activities soon we will see once into Action.


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