Space Junk is Clogging Our Earth's Orbit: New Visualization Reveals Time Lapse Extent (VIDEO)

First Posted: Dec 28, 2015 09:17 AM EST

There's something that's having a major impact in space around our planet: space trash. In fact, almost 20,000 pieces of debris are currently orbiting Earth. Now, scientists are taking a closer look at this debris with a new visualization.

Space debris can be a major problem. It can impact satellites currently in orbit, causing space agencies to have to adjust orbits in order to avoid it. For example, the International Space Station once had a bullet-sized hole punched through its solar panels when a piece of space debris collided with it. It can also affect launches into space.

In this case, the new visualization was created by Dr. Stuart Grey, a lecturer at University College London and part of the Space Geodesy and Navigation Laboratory. He hopes that this particular visualization will bring light to an ongoing issue.

Fortunately, agencies are already looking into improving the situation, even if a full solution hasn't been found as of yet. Everything from lasers that can blast space junk out of orbit to a robotic arm that collects the junk has been proposed.

In this case, it's important to note that this is an ongoing issue that should be dealt with. The new visualization actually shows how the amount of space debris has increased from 1957 to 2015. And it's likely that this increase will continue if certain policies aren't put into place-or if a type of space garbage collector isn't created.

Want to see the visualization for yourself? Check out the video below, courtesy of YouTube.

Related Articles

Suomi NPP Narrowly Avoids Flying Space Junk: The Dangers of Trash in Orbit

NASA International Space Station Supply Ship Returns to Earth with Burning Garbage

For more great science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN).

See Now: NASA's Juno Spacecraft's Rendezvous With Jupiter's Mammoth Cyclone

©2017 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission. The window to the world of science news.

Join the Conversation

Real Time Analytics