Saturday, January 23, 2021

European Space Agency Is Bringing Space Trash Back to Earth

There are really hundreds of thousands of pieces of space debris circling the planet out there. Space debris are a risk to useful spaceships. The European Space Agency just signed a 86 million-euro ($102 million) contract to bring large pieces of orbital trash back to Earth.

Space debris is also known as space junk, space pollution, space waste, space trash or space garbage. These are also defunct human-made objects in space (in Earth orbit) which no longer serve a useful function.

Space debris could be derelict spacecraft (nonfunctional spacecraft and abandoned launch vehicle stages), mission-related debris and fragmentation debris from the breakup of derelict rocket bodies and spacecraft. Other space debris include various fragments from disintegration, erosion and collisions, paint flecks, solidified liquids expelled from spacecraft and unburned particles from solid rocket motors.

As of October 2019, the US Space Surveillance Network reported nearly 20,000 artificial objects in orbit above the Earth, including 2,218 operational satellites. However, these are just the objects large enough to be tracked. As of January 2019, more than 128 million pieces of debris smaller than 1 cm (0.4 in), about 900,000 pieces of debris 1-10 cm, and around 34,000 of pieces larger than 10 cm were estimated to be really in orbit around the Earth.

The ISS (International Space Station) often avoids a 'piece of unknown space debris' by moving its location in space. The ISS has been hit by bits of small space junk before. The problem of space junk has become greater over time. The space station has moved to avoid debris three times in 2020 alone. It is time to clean up Space Trash.

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