Why Earth's Orbit is Becoming a Floating Junkyard

With the recent landing of the InSight probe on Mars, it looks like humankind is one step closer to setting foot on the red planet. But we might actually be even further away than ever since the more we travel to outer space, the harder it is for future expeditions to get back up there. That's because debris from shuttles, satellites and missile tests is accumulating more and more each year, turning Earth's orbit into a floating junkyard. 

Right now, there are 2,600 defunct satellites orbiting the Earth alongside 10,000 miscellaneous objects the size of a computer monitor, another 20,000 objects the size of an apple and roughly 500,000 scraps the size of a marble. And if those marbles don't sound threatening, keep in mind that they're moving at a rate of roughly 18,641 miles per hour. So getting hit with one would be just like seeing a bug crash into your windshield...if the bug was strapped with dynamite.  

So space travel will become more and more tricky in the years ahead unless we do something to clean up our orbit. Luckily, there are plenty of options for doing just that. Check out how we can fix the problem in this video from Kurzgesagt.


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