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Garbage Is A Growing Problem In Space

The number of objects in Earth's orbit is increasing steadily. The debris objects shown in this image are an artist's impression based on actual density data. However, the debris objects are shown at an exaggerated size to make them visible at the scale shown. (Image by the European Space Agency via NASA)
The number of objects in Earth's orbit is increasing steadily. The debris objects shown in this image are an artist's impression based on actual density data. However, the debris objects are shown at an exaggerated size to make them visible at the scale shown. (Image by the European Space Agency via NASA)

To make a decent movie about space, you’ve got to start with a decent premise: big asteroids barreling down, or humanity suddenly in need of a new planet.

The 2013 hit “Gravity” figured out a good recipe. In the opening sequence, astronauts played by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney face a barrage of space debris, which throws a wrench in their mission. Debris from a missile strike caused a chain reaction, hitting other satellites and creating new debris, traveling faster than a high-speed bullet toward the astronauts.

It turns out there’s a bit of reality in that chain reaction scenario. From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Todd Bookman of WHYY’s “The Pulse” looks into the growing problem of space junk.

Reporter

  • Todd Bookman, covers innovation in the fields of health and science for WHYY in Philadelphia. He tweets @toddbookman.

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