On Wednesday, the rangers made a sustained close observation of two satellites that were rapidly approaching. Although it is unlikely that a collision will occur earlier in the day, the chances of encountering the two will steadily increase over time. Initial estimates were well below 1%, but subsequent observations suggested that the probability of a collision was close to 5% — far exceeding acceptable expectations.
(Photo from: NASA)
If two decommissioned spacecraft collide over Pittsburgh, or produce large amounts of debris, it poses a major threat to the safety of other spacecraft and poses a major threat to future space missions (and even ground observations).
Thankfully, after the satellite entered the possible crash zone, the observer found no new debris, or evidence of a possible collision.
Ordinary people may think that space is endless, but Earth orbit is not. NASA and ESA, among others, have been monitoring the countless objects that drift over our heads in constant and close.
(Screenshot via BGR)
The risks of space junk are high, with relatively small, but fast-moving debris, or disrupting the deployment of new satellites or even damaging manned spacecraft such as the International Space Station.
To solve the growing problem, multinational scientists are working on solutions. But until then, we don’t have much to do.