TOPIC: SPACE DEBRIS
Space debris widely refers to all non-functional, human-made objects, including fragments and elements thereof, in Earth orbit or re-entering into Earth’s atmosphere. According to NASA, more than 500,000 pieces of debris, or “space junk,” are tracked as they orbit the Earth. These objects usually slowly make their way back to earth after a few years, but debris trapped in higher orbits can remain for more than a century. They all travel at speeds up to 17,500 mph, fast enough for a relatively small piece of orbital debris such as tiny paint flecks to damage a satellite or a spacecraft.
As the amount of space debris increases, so does the risk of in-space collisions, explosions, and the negligent creation of more debris. Eventually, this will obstruct future space missions and the most useful and economically vital orbital pathways around Earth will become totally unusable.