Space debris remains one of the biggest challenges for a space-faring humanity in the 21st century, as even the smallest pieces can pose a serious threat to satellites, manned spacecraft and the International Space Station. Now our friends at Fast Company have stumbled on a nifty infographic by Austrian designer Michael Paukner that lays out the space clutter situation more clearly.
Each nation's contribution shows up as a series of circles. A white circle designates active satellites, a gray circle indicates dysfunctional satellites and a black circle represents pieces of orbital debris greater than 10 centimeters in diameter.
The biggest contributor to space junk is none other than the U.S., followed closely by a two-way tie between Russia and China. Interestingly, China managed to contribute all that debris despite just having half the number of active satellites compared to Russia, or one tenth the number of satellites in the U.S. fleet.
Both China and the U.S. have tested missiles to shoot down satellites in the past, although the Chinese destroyed their weather satellite in a higher altitude that left a large cloud of space debris.
Fortunately, the U.S. government seems eager to avoid a WALL-E style future Earth if possible. The Pentagon's science lab DARPA issued a call late last year for possible solutions to clean up space debris, and the U.S. military is also looking to upgrade its space surveillance capabilities to keep track of more satellites and prevent future collisions.
I learned 4 things here:
1. The U.S. has reliable satellites (or we spend a lot of money to keep them running). If we give up, they fall apart.
2. Russia loves inactive satellites. Or just doesn't like fixing them.
3. China loves to blow things in space.
4. International satellites where a consortium exists is the best way to go as everyone has a hand in their survival.
its amazing how much rubbish there is up there..and its only going to get worse..it needs to be fixed now..before it gets completely out of hand, but what will probably happen is they will do nothing until a major catastrophe causes people to be killed and hurt and it makes worldwide news..and then talk talk talk talk and when its not the main headline only a little will have been actually done to fix the issue
your tax dollars at work with self-serving governments who only think of keeping their positions and not the general good