Satellite captures uncomfortable HD picture of space junk in Earth's atmosphere

An orbital debris removal company has shared an uncomfortable image of space junk stuck in Earth's upper atmosphere, a stark reminder of a growing problem.

1 minute & 25 seconds read time

A company that's dedicatedcated to removing space debris currently stuck in Earth's orbit has shared an image that is a stark reminder of a growing problem.

Satellite captures uncomfortable HD picture of space junk in Earth's atmosphere 561156

Japan's space agency, JAXA, has selected Tokyo-based Astroscale for its Commercial Removal of Debris Demonstration (CRD2) program. Astroscale is committed to the removal of space debris and part of its plan to destroy space junk is the Active Debris Removal by Astroscale-Japan (ADRAS-J) satellite, which snapped the above image of the upperstage of a rocket a distance of 164 feet.

The upper stage measures approximately 36 feet in length and has been in orbit for 15 years, after it reached orbit with an Earth-observation satellite in 2009. Observing space junk up close like this enables Astroscale to gather data on its movements and orientation before it carries the piece down into Earth's atmosphere where it will burn up.

Notably, NASA expects there is about 6,000 tons of space junk in Earth's orbit, with some of these pieces traveling as fast as 18,000 mph. Space junk is caused by defunct satellites, rocket parts, and collisions between the two aforementioned objects. The collisions are particularly bad as they spawn thousands of new pieces of space junk that are now traveling at very high speeds. These nuts and bolts can then collide into operational satellites, creating more space junk.

"In 1979 NASA scientist Donald J. Kessler proposed what was dubbed the "Kessler syndrome", which is a scenario that could unfold when the number of objects within low Earth orbit becomes so dense that the likelihood that it increases the the the point where it's more likely further collisions will occur, causing a cascade effect of debris collisions throughout low Earth orbit," a previous report on space junk states

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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