Home LanguageEnglish People Need to Clean Up Space Debris and Space Junk

People Need to Clean Up Space Debris and Space Junk

by Audrey Hazel

Clean up space debris and space junk is already very urgent! Space junks pose a major threat to satellites, rockets, and space stations. If they are not cleaned up quickly, they may result in collisions, destruction, and major disasters.

(Photo via Pixabay.com)

London, UK (Merxwire) – According to data, more than 90,000 particles from satellites, rockets and other man-made devices are orbiting Earth, more than double the amount found in orbit two years ago. Space junk may be as big as spent rocket stages or as small as paint flakes, If space junk collides with Spaceship, it will threaten the safety of astronauts and affect human exploration of the universe and colonization plan. How to remove space junk is an issue that humans need to think about.

The threat from space is huge

As more and more countries participate in space exploration, it becomes more and more difficult to avoid the increasing amount of space junk. What is space junk? Space junk mainly refers to abandoned satellite debris and other metal fragments that have not been completely burned.

How much space debris is there now? It is estimated that there are currently about 900,000 pieces of space debris, which are operating at a speed of nearly 30,000 kilometers per hour in low-Earth orbit. Compared with 500,000 pieces of space debris in 2018, the number has doubled. The rate of increase in the future may be faster.

They pose a great threat to satellites, rockets, and space stations. Space junk will bring catastrophic collision consequences, destroy satellite systems in orbit, and an average satellite is destroyed by space debris every year.

The country that made the most space debris

Russia, the United States and China have always been considered the countries that generate the most space junk.

The United States executed Project West Ford in the 1960s, artificially dispersing 430 million copper system dipole antennas in space. The US once stated that copper system dipole antennas will slowly get out of orbit, but in fact, until now there are still a considerable number of antennas remaining in the orbit.

2007 Chinese anti-satellite missile test, It is the single event with the largest number of space junk in history. As of October 2016, a total of 3,438 pieces of debris had been detected, with 571 decayed and 2,867 still in orbit nine years after the incident. 

There are also many rocket fragments and satellite fragments produced in Russia. On the Russian side, in addition to the rocket crash and the disintegration of the satellite itself, in 2009, after the collision between the US and Russian satellites, the number of space debris flying around the earth increased dramatically.

How to clean up space debris?

Efforts to clean up space debris have been uninterrupted for decades, but it is generally believed that this area still faces major technical and economic challenges. The dispute over who makes more space junk continues, and relevant international consensus or regulations are still awaiting formulation.

In the past, a satellite (CleanSpace One) was used to orbit the earth, collect space debris in orbit, and then carry the garbage back to the earth, and these garbage will be burned in the atmosphere during the return journey. However, this method is slow, so a method of using harpoon to clean up debris was created.

Harpoon can handle the debris that is rolling. The British-led mission to test techniques to clear up space junk has demonstrated a harpoon in orbit. The harpoon’s barbs deploy and hold on to the board, preventing it from floating away, and tightly embed the target.

Although Harpoon can hit the target and destroy space junk as predicted, this is only one of the methods. Humans must think about how to reduce space debris, clean up space debris more efficiently, and prevent the universe from being artificially polluted.

Reference materials: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-52795923

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