A Startling Image That Shows Why Space Junk is a Nightmare

A Startling Image That Shows Why Space Junk is a Nightmare

“space debris I” visualizes the collection of defunct objects now in orbit around the earth which includes everything from spent rocket stages and old satellites to fragments from disintegration, erosion, and collisions. There are now about 600,000 objects larger than 1 cm in orbit circulating at a speed of approximately 28,000 km an hour and posing a serious threat to satellites, space stations and operational spaceflights.

Drawn from a data archive, each spherule in the picture represents a real object orbiting in space. The visualization was realized in collaboration with the Institute of Aerospace Systems – TU Braunschweig Germany, the world’s leading authority on the tracking of space debris.