A Half-Million Pieces Of Space Junk Pose Real Threat To Astronauts

Space junk has been in the news of late. Earlier this week, a small piece of it punctured the Canadian robotic arm at the International Space Station. Last month, a giant Chinese rocket booster, several stories tall, broke up in chunks upon reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere, luckily falling harmlessly into the Indian Ocean.

As a matter of fact, at last count there were more than 500,000 pieces bigger than one centimeter – yes, half a million – of space debris cruising at 17,500 mph above the Earth. That amounts to over 8,000 metric tons. It all started in 1957 when the Russians launched the first satellite, Sputnik. Eventually,

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