Orbital Trash a Problem With No Immediate Solution, Growing Exponentially | Singularity Hub

Whether it’s Earth or in orbit, we are experiencing one hell of an eWaste problem!

Ye Olde Soapbox

Written By: Jason Dorrier
Posted: 05/23/13 8:36 AM

 

ORBITAL TRASH A PROBLEM WITH NO IMMEDIATE SOLUTION, GROWING EXPONENTIALLY

SH 112_#1 BIG

Artist’s impression based on actual space debris data. Debris size is exaggerated compared to the size of the Earth.

Our technology can get us to space, but once there, we still aren’t too flexible. Earth orbit is clogged with debris because we simply don’t have an easy way to clean it up.

According to the European Space Agency (ESA) there are 17,000 tracked objects in orbit (and a total of 29,000 objects greater than 10 cm) of which only 7% are working satellites. About ten objects a week pass within two kilometers of each other, and ESA initiates three collision avoidance maneuvers yearly.

The 6th European Conference on Space Debris, recently held at ESA’s European Space Operations Centre, concluded space junk is already a problem, but it may soon morph…

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