Litter in space: Varulkarie
Space debris is a growing problem due to impacts of pieces of spack
junk creating more space debris. The amount of pieces of space junk in
orbit has grown by 50% in the last 20 years.
There are over
22,000 pieces larger than 10cm in orbit. To put this into perspective,
a piece of space debris the size of an aspirin (or about 1cm and 20
grams) travelling at orbital speed has the same force as a 200
kilogram object travelling at 100km/hr. This means the object can
destroy anything it hits.
There are those that predict a tipping
point where space debris increases the risk of space flight to where
fatalities make space flight too risky.
The only consolation
is most pieces of space debris travel in similar orbits in similar
directions due to rocket launches being against the rotation of the
Earth. This is no guarantee of safety since even slight differences in
orbit can still produce collisions with catestrophic results. Pieces of
space debris at such speed as that of orbital velocity (32,000km/hr or
nearly 9 kilometres per second) will kill without rapid intervention.