An ominous warning has been issued over the vast amounts of space junk floating around above Earth.
Earlier this year, the Daily Star revealed that space had a junk problem and that nobody was willing to fix it. For decades, humans have been sending rockets, satellites, human poo and other random objects into space all in the name of science.
But when missions go wrong and rockets explode, or junk is ejected into space, the debris is left to float endlessly until the end of time. And speaking exclusively to the Daily Star, top British astronomer Professor Chris Impey has said that it the issue is now so bad that it is “almost impossible to deal with” – and had one country in mind as the worst offender.
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The University Distinguished Professor, at the Department of Astronomy, University of Arizona said: “The problem is that space is huge and the pieces are small, so any mitigation strategy will be inefficient and time-consuming. Large satellites are now designed to de-orbit, and SpaceX's constellation satellites are in low enough orbits that drag takes them down in five to seven years.
“But the junk that is up there will stay there, and the small bits are almost impossible to deal with. “At least everyone is now fully aware of the problems – bad behaviour doesn't help. When China blew up one of its own satellites it put another few thousands of pieces of high-speed shrapnel in play.
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“Private companies will not want to foot the bill, though a large player like Space X is under intense pressure not to make the problem any worse, and as governments got us into this problem, it's on them to get us out.”
Professor Impey did clarify that he was mainly talking about the United States, China and Russia when it comes to dealing with the issue.
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There are around 23,000 objects larger than 10cm in diameter, with a whopping 100million pieces larger than one millimetre. And it's all travelling at 15,000mph – 10 times faster than a speeding bullet.
Despite that, and the obvious risks it poses – such as a tiny piece of human waste flying into a crucial satellite – there is nobody actually responsible for cleaning it up. How it's dealt with, however, remains a mystery.
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