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There is a lot of trash in space: what's the risk?

There is a lot of trash in space: what’s the risk?

It was not enough to pollute our planet: about fifteen years ago we began to fill the space with garbage, where there are remnants Satellitesauxiliary missiles e Anti-satellite weapons (as in). According to NASA’s Orbital Debris Quarterly News, in February of this year, most space junk came from Russia, the United States and China. But how did all this debris get there, and why is it so important to stop producing it?

According to the US Space Force, in November 2021, more than 19,000 recognizable space debris orbited our planet, most of them at least 10 cm; Things can be anonymous hundreds of millions.

on the number 360 out of focusOn newsstands these days, you’ll find (also) the article “The Space Station – The Last One Closes the Hole,” which talks about the present and (above all) future of the International Space Station. Why don’t you participate?
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Where does waste come from? Current space junk consists mainly of parts from satellites, rockets, probes, and debris derived from missions; Our first real accumulation of waste in 2007, when the Chinese FengYun-1C satellite was intentionally destroyed in an anti-satellite weapons test. Then they helped increase space junk before the collision of two satellites – Iridium-33 and Kosmos-2251 – in 2009and then another test of anti-satellite weapons conducted by Russia In 2021, when Cosmos 1408 disintegrated, it weighed more than two tons. Each of these events contributed to the contamination of space by at least a thousand parts of scrap metal.

Risks. Not only does space junk pose a physical danger to active satellites in Earth orbit, which can be damaged by collision (how did that happen Last year in Canadaarm 2, the International Space Station’s ISS was hit by an unidentified shrapnel), but also by the ozone hole, which can be reduced by chemicals produced during the combustion of pieces satellites that burn re-enter the atmosphere.

From a broader perspective, explain Safe World Foundation, a space filled with debris that may not in fact be visited or used for purposes of national security, Earth observation, communications, scientific exploration, or economic development.

future predictions. According to reports from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), numerous studies predict that in the coming years the risk of collision between space debris and satellites will increase significantly: recent estimates, in 2018, indicate that over the next 20 years – in a constellation of 1,000 satellites over 1200 km altitude – The risk of collision with a broadband satellite weighing 200 kilograms and the collision of a large part of 1-10 cm will increase by eight timesfrom 11% to 90%.

Space cleaning. For all these reasons, it is necessary to start talking about spatial sustainability. How? The United States of America took a first step this year announced The Stop testing anti-satellite weapons which can create an unwanted alien.

If it is possible to put an end to the creation of new space waste, the removal of existing waste is much more complicated: according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), this process conflicts with Technological, economic and geopolitical difficulties. Design and launch avatars removal devices Space debris is actually not only expensive and risky (in case of failure, we will do nothing but create more space junk), but it is also sensitive from a geopolitical point of view, as debris can end up in the wrong hands of the enemy, who can get sensitive data. For this reason, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) advises, countries should limit themselves to removing only their own or allied satellites from space.