From finely tuned machines, to thousand-pound wrecks, satellites have become less than productive in recent space disasters. Whilst useful and almost an essential to today's lifestyle, satellites have clouded the earth, and after being destroyed and dispersed throughout the atmosphere, they have become a large and perplexing problem.
According to an article in Christian Science Monitor, “satellites can rarely operate for more than a decade. New satellites and old relics crowd the orbit around Earth, and governments and researchers are looking for ways to clean it up.” Obviously so, this isn’t good, space junk is crashing into satellites, objects are being dragged back down to earth, causing damage to buildings and streetways. “Everybody recognizes that this is a problem, and that the problem is getting worse, but it’s not clear exactly whose job it is to clean it up,” says Aaron Parness, a robotics researcher at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
“The way collisions work means that preventing even a few can significantly stop fragments from spreading. NASA estimates that removing just five high-risk satellites per year starting in 2020 could keep the debris cloud at its current levels,” reads an article by The StarChild team.
This illustrates what could be done about this problem, of the many out there, this is one of the only methods being used to stop collisions, and not to clean up current debris.
Not only does this cloud cloud the atmosphere, but it can float further into space, and hit other satellites and space stations. And even come back down to earth in pieces of metal and fire. If big enough, these chunks of metal from space can be dangerous, to property or people. As NASA makes progress on this puzzling problem, we get closer and closer to leading a cleaner lifestyle.