Space Junk - Orbital Space Debris

Orbital Space Debris Famous Historical Events Aviation & Space Exploration STEM Visual Arts Ethics Astronomy

Have you ever wondered how much man-made "space junk" is in space? Is there such a thing as man-made space junk?

Since the start of the space age, countries sending objects into space have created a large amount of debris which continues to orbit the Earth. This image, from NASA, depicts how much orbital space debris actually exists.

NASA has also created an animation of man-made "space junk" which could cause harm to other objects in space.  And ... space agencies maintain a catalog of debris items which are in "Low-Earth Orbit."

Note this image depicts orbital space debris not natural space debris.

NASA provides a description of this image:

The ... graphics are computer generated images of objects in Earth orbit that are currently being tracked.  Approximately 95% of the objects in this illustration are orbital debris, i.e., not functional satellites.

The dots represent the current location of each item. The orbital debris dots are scaled according to the image size of the graphic to optimize their visibility and are not scaled to Earth.

These images provide a good visualization of where the greatest orbital debris populations exist... 

Click on the image to see a full-page view.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Mar 14, 2017

Updated Last Revision: Apr 16, 2019

Media Credits

Image from NASA/JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) at CalTech.


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"Space Junk - Orbital Space Debris" AwesomeStories.com. Mar 14, 2017. Jan 19, 2020.
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