Again, a piece of news concerning the growing problem of debris of any nature has hit the media thanks to a recent NASA study claiming that the problem might be at a critical phase even in the case that not more space junk is sent to orbit.
This study mentioned at SpaceMart (online newsletter devoted to Space business topics), calls NASA attention to give more priority to projects related with debris mitigation.
Space junk at dangerous “tipping point”: study.
Clouds of space junk orbiting the Earth have reached a dangerous "tipping point", threatening to smash satellites and endanger astronauts, US scientists warned in a study this week.
"The current space environment is growing increasingly hazardous to spacecraft and astronauts," said Donald Kessler, chair of the committee that wrote the report and retired head of NASA's Orbital Debris Program Office. "NASA needs todetermine the best path forward for tackling the multifaceted problems caused by meteoroids and orbital debris that put human and robotic space operations at risk."
NASA is currently tracking over 22,000 pieces of debris and estimates there are millions more that are too small to track. Computer models have shown that the "debris has reached a 'tipping point,' with enough currently in orbit to continually collide and create even more debris, raising the risk of spacecraft failures," the National Research Council said in a statement Thursday.
The 160-page report recommends that NASA engages the State Department's help in sorting out the "economic, technological, political, and legal considerations."
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