It’s getting crowded there and the space is more limited than you might think.
Tampa, Florida – It’s getting a little crowded in Low Earth Orbit as humans continue to litter a limited area with debris.
The problem is not new, but with space becoming a commodity and what appears to be a multitude of new businesses securing funding for launches, there isn’t much room left in an already crowded area.
Millions of debris are being tracked in orbit around Earth, according to latest NASA reports I mentioned the account. Objects can travel at speeds of up to 27,000 miles per hour, which can damage satellites and spacecraft.
“The increasing amount of space debris increases the potential danger to all spacecraft, especially the International Space Station, space shuttles and other spacecraft with people on board,” NASA has said in the past.
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Astronaut Mike Hopkins zei: CBS News Let the air force and space forces constantly monitor the debris in space in the hope of getting closer to the International Space Station to get some rest.
“that he [constantly] Something we always worry about here and should pay attention to. ”
It’s a problem that came to mind over the years, including in 2015 when the International Space Station flight controllers performed a “pre-defined escape maneuver.” Stay away from any replaceable Minotaur part.
In 2020, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine spoke about the space debris problem and said things were getting worse.
“Of @space station He maneuvered 3 times in 2020 to avoid the sinking. There have been 3 highly probable association cases in the past 2 weeks, “he tweeted.
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But the orbiting lab doesn’t always have time to move away, as was revealed earlier this year when a piece of junk in space left a small hole the size of a pencil eraser. in the robotic arms of the International Space Station. .
In such cases, astronaut Peggy Whitson told CBS News: “You need to find shelter, get into your rescue vehicle and be ready to leave the station.”
According to Steve Stitch, director of NASA’s Commercial Crew program, crews will use their pods as “lifeboats” that can be up and running in minutes.
Astronauts’ suits are also kept in each crew’s capsule for the duration of their stay on the International Space Station, making them comfortable and quick to put on in an emergency.
So how do you fix the problem before it’s too late? Well, it depends on who you ask and if all the world parties are ready to cooperate.
In March, NASA and SpaceX took action to make space safer for navigating the crowded field of spacecraft, satellites and debris orbiting the planet we call our home.
the two signed a joint agreement It allows a deeper level of coordination, collaboration and data sharing between the two parties. The main purpose of the agreement is to connect and avoid collisions between the NASA spacecraft and the expanding group of Starlink satellites.
On the clean-up side, as you can imagine, there isn’t a crew that can clean up the amount of debris that space just above Earth’s atmosphere absorbs on a daily basis.
But that doesn’t mean some agencies and companies don’t give it a try.
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over there Elimination of depression, a satellite launched into space in 2018 to conduct a series of experiments on capturing space debris. the European Space Agency It also recommends several actions to tackle the growing problem of space debris, such as visiting “high object density” areas to remove up to 10 objects per year.
While change doesn’t happen overnight, something can happen: the way we think.
“In a way, it’s an old human story,” said David Pogue, CBS Sunday Morning correspondent. “Whether we throw away plastic, throw away chemicals, or burn fossil fuels, we don’t really think about the waste we leave behind. “
If you ever want to keep track of all the “things in space” you can do so with an interactive map. here.
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