• There's an estimated 2.2 million kilograms of junk floating in space right now.
  • It's made up of dead spacecraft, and other mission related debris.
  • Travelling at speeds upwards of 28,000 km/h, the junk poses a threat to the International Space Station.


 

Earth's orbit is turning into a junk minefield, with an estimated 2.2 million kilograms of space junk.

It's made up of dead spacecraft, and other mission related debris. There are 500,000 pieces of junk, with some 20,000 of them at least the size of a tennis ball. 

NASA can track some 21,000 pieces of junk.

Computerised image of the floating junk around Earth's orbit. (INSH)

There are millions more, too small to track. But just because they're small doesn't mean they're not dangerous. Debris can travel at speeds upwards of 28,000 km/h. 

Space Shuttle windows have been damaged by flying paint flecks. The debris is especially dangerous for the International Space Station. 

As the debris builds up, it collides with other objects, creating more debris. If enough junk accumulates, orbiting the Earth may one day be too dangerous.

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