Kristine Lofgren

You Won't Believe How Much Space Junk is Orbiting the Earth Right Now

by , 06/12/14

Orbital Objects, Orbital Objects map, Orbital Objects space debris, space debris, space junk, space pollution, space junk map, space debris map, space pollution map, satellite debris, space debris pollution, satellite pollution, tracked space junk, inactive satellites

Whether you saw the movie Gravity or not, you probably already know that space debris can be a big problem. But until you see a visual showing just how ridiculously packed the Earth’s atmosphere is, it is hard to grasp just how much of a problem it really is. To provide you with that visual, the folks over at Orbital Objects have created an interactive globe of space pollution that might just blow your mind – or make you want to invent a giant space vacuum cleaner.

Orbital Objects, Orbital Objects map, Orbital Objects space debris, space debris, space junk, space pollution, space junk map, space debris map, space pollution map, satellite debris, space debris pollution, satellite pollution, tracked space junk, inactive satellites

It’s estimated there there are about 20,000 pieces of larger debris (large being at least 2 inches) floating in low orbit around the Earth. That debris can include fragments from satellites or spacecraft , non-functional spacecraft or abandoned launch vehicle stages. In 2008 alone, this debris forced spacecraft like the International Space Station to maneuver on five separate instances in order to avoid collisions.

Related: Japan Prepares to Launch Giant Net into Orbit to Sweep up Space Debris

Orbital Objects allows you see all of that crazy space debris to understand just how crowded the sky really is. The interactive map shows tracked objects only with active satellites showing up in green, inactive satellites in gray and tracked debris in red. The map lets you click around to see the different clusters over different parts of the planet, or the giant ring of satellites orbiting the Earth. While scientists monitor and maneuver to avoid debris, there isn’t really a solid plan for getting rid of all the junk, though some countries have started testing ideas. But just by looking at the map, it’s surprising that Gravity-style space collisions don’t happen more often.

+ Orbital Objects

Via Treehugger

Related Posts

LEAVE A COMMENT

or your inhabitat account below

Let's make sure you're a real person:


  • Read Inhabitat

  • Search Categories

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

  • Browse by Keyword

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
Federated Media Publishing - Home