Feb 21, 2023

Space debris apocalypse: 6 objects that could wreak havoc in Earth’s orbit

Posted by in category: satellites

The space around our planet is getting cluttered. Thousands of satellites and millions of out-of-control fragments of space debris hurtle high above our heads, threatening to collide. Here are the objects that experts fear the most.

In just the past month, the goings-on in near-Earth space have twice made headlines and prompted experts to call for action. On Jan. 27, space debris researchers looked on in horror as two huge pieces of space junk ⁠— a decades-old upper stage of a Russian rocket and a long-defunct Russian satellite — came within 20 feet (6 meters) or so of each other. The incident, described as a close call “worst case scenario,” could have spawned thousands of dangerous debris fragments that would have stayed in orbit for centuries. Then, a report released on Feb. 6 revealed that in early January a mysterious Russian satellite broke apart into 85 fragments large enough to be tracked from Earth.

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