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January 30 2013

Space junk menace: How to deal with orbital debris


The saga of what steps that must be taken to deal with the evolving threat of Earth-circling orbital debris is a work in progress. This menacing problem and the possible cleanup solutions is international in scope.

Space junk is an assortment of objects in Earth orbit that is a mix of everything from spent rocket stages, derelict satellites, chunks of busted up spacecraft to paint chips, springs and bolts. A satellite crash in February 2009, for example, marked the first accidental hypervelocity crash between two intact artificial satellites in Earth orbit. That cosmic crash created significant debris a worrisome amount of leftover bits and pieces.

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