There’s a floating garbage dump orbiting Earth, and it’s getting fuller every year.
Space debris — known colloquially as space junk — is the name that scientists give to the thousands of pieces of broken satellites and spacecraft that clog Earth’s orbit. Space junk can be as small as a paint fleck or as large as an abandoned rocket launch vehicle; no matter the size, orbital debris pose a significant threat to the astronauts and spacecraft that work in Earth’s orbit, according to NASA.
The amount of space junk in orbit increases hand-in-hand with the growth of the space industry on Earth. On March 10, a group of international researchers writing in the journal Science raised the alarm on the growing problem of space junk, calling for a legally-binding treaty to “help protect Earth’s orbit” before it becomes irreparably polluted with debris.
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