Seven thousand tons in orbit: is space debris dangerous?
There are about seven thousand tons of space debris in Earth's orbit. In some cases, it can become a threat, but most experts assure that not all fragments fall on the planet and can cause significant destruction, writes “360”.
Currently, there is more space debris in Earth's orbit than active vehicles, including the ISS. It represents artificial objects that are out of order, as well as their fragments.
However, for active satellites, particles can be dangerous, since the collision speed is 15 kilometers per second. As a result of “cosmic accidents”, the amount of debris only multiplies, provoking more and more collisions and the disintegration of larger fragments into small ones.
There is also the threat of space debris falling to Earth, but most experts believe that this is almost impossible. Under the influence of the atmosphere, it most often burns out, and the likelihood of major destruction is small, noted Nathan Eismont, a leading researcher at the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The European Space Agency (ESA) previously estimated that there are about 130 million particles of man-made debris in orbit less than a millimeter in size. Small fragments can also damage spacecraft equipment.