Junk in space

Oriane Kaesmann for the Space Law Resource

One can argue that “junk” isn’t the best subject to address during a fancy party.

But what if the junk is currently floating in low orbit just above our heads ? Now we are talking. It could even bring a  drop of excitement in the soiree, thinking of so many sophisticated, electronical swords of Damocles dwelling in our night (and day) sky… If you are lucky, you can even find and track one of those wonderful, forsaken pieces of human technology thanks to the Sky Guide app.

According to Live Science,

Space debris is a regular part of satellite and rocket launches. Though the odds of any individual person getting struck by detritus is low, the odds that it hits one of the 7 billion people on Earth is surprisingly high. All told, there were at least 500,000 pieces of space junk, marble-size or larger, that are orbiting our planet in 2010, though most pieces are on the small size. Of that space junk, more than 20,000 pieces are larger than a softball. In 2012, Switzerland proposed building a kind of space janitor to clean up some of that debris.

That “space janitor” is in fact the CleanSpace One project, aiming to launch special satellites that will help clean up the various orbits around Earth. How will it work ? When the satellite reaches its target, it will extend a grappling arm, grab it and then plunge it into Earth’s atmosphere – instead of the trash can. It will then sacrifice itself along with the jung by burning during re-entry.

Space junk even tiny pieces of it is dangerous because objects orbiting around Earth travel at speeds of about 17,500 mph (28,200 kph). At those velocities, any collision between two objects would cause serious damage“.

Click here to read the full article.

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