Space debris is increasingly a problem for satellites and ships that are sent into space. Numerous missions are in danger if these more than 500,000 pieces of garbage that already flood Earth’s orbit are not cleaned.
There is more and more debris in space, and it is becoming a serious problem for missions to the Moon or Mars. In addition, the increase in space companies has led to a greater amount of space debris such as ‘deceased’ satellites, rockets, nuts and numerous screws.
That is why a cleanup plan is necessary to prevent these dangerous wastes from causing future catastrophes.
According to the founder and CEO of Astroscale Nobu Okada, “during the last 5 to 7 years, there were (approximately) 2,000 space companies in the world. Their plans are so aggressive, they will launch 10,000 to 20,000 satellites in the next 5 to 10 years.”
Therefore, an increase in objects in space is forecast, as reported by Okada at the Annual Meeting of the New Champions of the World Economic Forum in Tianjin, China, to CNBC.
500,000 pieces of garbage in Earth’s orbit
That’s right, the figure scares. In the orbit of the Earth there are already more than 500,000 garbage pieces counting the aforementioned ‘deceased’ satellites, nuts, propeller rockets, etc. This garbage is a big problem for astronauts and spacecraft.
It is estimated that since January 2018 there are about 29,000 more objects, and about 750,000 objects with sizes from 1 to 10 cm, as well as 166 million objects between 1 millimeter and 1 centimeter in size, according to the European Space Agency.
Also, when the objects collide with each other they break and create more debris.
“Even the small particle caused by the collision has enough power to fly a satellite,” says Okada, adding that “if we continue the chain reactions of the collisions, we cannot put our space assets in space. Therefore, it is now when we have to remove the large objects from space. “
Objective: Clean the space
Even tiny objects can be dangerous for satellites, and move at a speed of 8 kilometers per second. That is why the company of Okada (Astroscale) is creating a technology capable of identifying objects that are a threat to spacecraft, and thus take them to the atmosphere to burn.
It is estimated that the cost to eliminate space debris will be between 100 and 500 million dollars in each garbage collection, although Astroscale wants to reduce that cost.
In addition to Astroscale, the Space Center of the University of Surrey has already sent a spaceship to the orbit that collects debris.
Why is it a threat to the missions to the Moon and Mars?
As Okada explains, when a mission is made to the Moon or Mars, you have to cross that debris barrier necessarily. Therefore, to carry out a mission safely and without any danger of collision with debris, it is essential to clean the space debris urgently.