Junkyard orbiting Earth: Rocket and satellite garbage orbiting Earth a major threat to space economy, ‘It’s kind of like the Wild West’

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Junkyard orbiting Earth (Image Courtesy: NASA)
Junkyard orbiting Earth (Image Courtesy: NASA)

New Delhi : Ever noticed a pale yellow layer orbiting around the beautiful earth in pictures from space? That is a metal junkyard created with rocket and satellites waste orbiting our planet, posing a major threat to space economy.

With increasing pollution on earth and human desire to make space travel a commercial affair, the junkyard is set for a major risk where debris travels at velocities approaching 8 kilometres per second-roughly 28,900 kmh.

At such high speed, even the tiniest part of junk can gain massive destructive energy. Currently, satellite operators periodically maneouver their birds to avoid object strikes just as NASA must do with the International Space Station.

"Knowing where stuff is is the first part of the problem," an online portal http://www.stuff.co.nz/science/90124323/Earths-orbiting-junkyard-threatens-the-space-economy quotes Bill Ailor, a research fellow at the Aerospace Corp, which specialises in tracking space debris.

"Over the longer term we need to be getting much better [tracking] data so satellite operators don't move unnecessarily."

On one hand companies like Space X and Blue Origin are dreaming of creating a commercial platform in deeper space, on the other hand earth's junkyard is all set to get dangerous with addition of metal debris.