真/CURIOSO : SPACE JUNK

Space-Debris-Universe-Today

This is what immediate space looks like around Earth. (Click the image and enlarge. Take a real good look.) This is an artist rendering of the satellites and debris that surround Earth. Have you seen Gravity? Thought that situation was low in chance?

Some points :

Since 1957, there have been almost 7,000 satellites launched into Earth’s orbit by various countries and private companies. Roughly half of those satellites have fallen into a state of decay.

Containing spent rocket components, dead satellites, and fragments from collisions, the cloud of debris above Earth’s atmosphere continues to grow. NASA estimates that there are some 22,000 pieces of space junk as large as softballs and another 500,000 pieces larger than a marble. The number of fragments at least 1 mm in diameter is somewhere in the hundreds of millions. Hurtling through space at tremendous velocities, even the smallest of these objects could pose a threat to the 1,000 or so operational satellites currently in orbit.

An additional 2,000 items of debris were created in 2009 when a dead Russian satellite smashed into an active U.S. communications satellite.

In addition to accidental collisions and explosions, the debris field has also been enlarged by military testing. In 2007, the Chinese military destroyed an aging Fengyun-1C weather satellite using an anti-satellite (ASAT) device launched atop a ballistic missile. The incident is estimated to have generated around 950 items of debris 4 inches (10 centimeters) or larger and some 35,000 pieces larger than 1 cm. Widely viewed as the most prolific single cause of space junk in the five decades humans have been in space, the debris cloud from the satellite now extends through all of low-Earth orbit.

Culled from an article : http://www.americaspace.com/?p=44636

Share this article!

Speak Your Mind

*