Orbital debris hit.
Credit: NASA

 

 

Tag it as a tragedy of the commons. Decades of detritus build-up in the form of Earth-circling, high-speed clutter – from spent rocket stages, paint chips, dead or dying satellites to leftover remains from anti-satellite testing.

The amount of human-made objects in low-Earth orbit has been steadily mushrooming over the past 50 years.

Clutter in the cosmos.
Credit: Used with permission: Melrae Pictures/Space Junk 3D

 

 

 

 

And there’s a messy message growing too, one of close-calls between orbiting assets, even side-swiping collisions that generate menacing refuge that worsens an already bad situation.

 

Take a read about this situation by going to my new Scientific American story:

“Space Junk Removal Is Not Going Smoothly – Despite promising technology demonstrations, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for the growing problem of taking out the orbital trash” at:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/space-junk-removal-is-not-going-smoothly/

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