IN SPACE - JULY 17: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) In this handout photo provided by the European Space Agency (ESA) on July 17, 2014, German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst took this image of the Earth reflecting light from the sun whilst aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Gerst returned to earth on November 10, 2014 after spending six months on the International Space Station completing an extensive scientific programme, known as the 'Blue Dot' mission (after astronomer Carl Sagan's description of Earth, as seen on a photograph taken by the Voyager probe from six billion kilometres away). (Photo : Alexander Gerst / ESA via Getty Images)
Space Junk has become a problem the moment Earth had its first satellite in 1957. However, little has been done to solve this problem which continuously grow over the years.
Thus, in order to show how Space Junk increased over the years since Sputnik 1 was sent to space 58 years ago, Stuart Grey, a scientist, lecturer at University of London and part of the Space Geodesy and Navigation Laboratory, created this video which visualized the increasing number of space junks which orbit the Earth today.
A clearer and interactive visualization complete with explanation and other details can be found at the website of The Royal Institution.
According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), there are more than 500,000 pieces of space debris the size of a marble or larger which orbit the earth. Moreover, more than 20,000 space junks which are larger than a softball were also being tracked.
These space junks were reported to travel at a speed of up to 17,500 mph -- a speed enough for even a small piece of debris to damage a satellite or a spacecraft. Thus, posting problems for various governments and space agencies as it may cause damage or hinder the operations of communication satellites and other spacecrafts which orbits Earth.
In the report at Mashable, it was cited that even the International Space Station has to move away from these debris in order to avoid its danger and keep the space laboratory as well as the people working inside it safe. It cited one situation when the Space laboratory has to slightly change it orbit to avoid collision with a piece of space junk.
However, it added that the Space Station has not been completely safe from the debris as there was also a time when a piece of debris went through one of the station's huge solar panel arrays.
The Mashable report furthered that there have been a lot of space junks primarily due to the rockets launched in space which, after delivering their loads, were left to stay afloat freely in space. There were also instances that satellites collide resulting to more debris.
The NASA report, on the other hand, mentioned a 2007 event where China tested its missiles to destroy an old weather satellite, producing more than 3,000 pieces of space junks. In 2009, more than 2,000 pieces of space debris were also added after a non-operational Russian satellite collided with a working U.S Iridium Commercial Satellite.