Near-Earth orbit is being increasingly littered and this status quo could prove potentially disastrous for future space missions. A new study has revealed how Russia’s space agency Roscosmos is the more responsible for the man-made objects than any other institution.
A shocking new infographic has identified the culprits responsible for the garbage attracted by Earth’s gravity.
With the advancements in technology, there are new potential solutions to the problem emerging constantly
The study has revealed Russia is responsible for more than 14,403 pieces of space junk.
And in an unwanted second place comes the United States, with 8,734 items of dangerous debris.
In all, the digestible data reveals an absolute minimum of 30,000 pieces of satellites, rockets and other defunct devices are orbiting around our planet.
Most worrying of all, this is estimated to be more than double found in orbit only two years ago.
Space junk is categorised as being anything deemed surplus to requirements after missions.
Unwanted material can range from spent rocket stages to supposedly-inconsequential items like paint flakes.
Data from Space-Track.org allowed UK electronics company RS Components to analyse exactly how much space junk is currently orbiting Earth and track-down the country responsible.
In 2018, the RC Components complied the same data and found the US and affiliated agencies such as NASA had contributed the most space junk with 4,037, followed by Russia, with 4,035.
However, by 2020, Russia’s space programme has apparently mushroomed, helping it move to the top spot.
China this year is in third place, with 4,688 orbiting items, followed by France, with 994.
And India saw an increase with 124 more objects in the past two years, putting its current estimate at 517.
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RS Components, who commissioned the research, told Express.co.uk: “Whilst many people step outside to watch stars, planets or even satellites passing overhead, we often don’t consider the other items that are currently in orbit.
“We have a tendency to picture space as somewhere with a lot of vast open space, but in reality, space is becoming much too crowded.
“With commercial space flight only a few years away from becoming a reality, we have amazing images of travelling away from Earth.
“But this could be a very different, and even extremely dangerous experience if the amount of space debris in orbit continues to increase – with this already a challenge that satellite and rocket launches have to navigate.
“However, with the advancements in technology, there are new potential solutions to the problem emerging constantly.
“So hopefully it’s not long before we can find a long-term global solution to keep space waste-free.”
At present, space junk fortunately is not deemed to pose a significant risk to extraterrestrial exploration efforts.
The biggest danger space junk does pose is to other satellites in low-Earth orbit.
These satellites have to take evasive action of incoming space junk to make sure they do not get damaged or even destroyed.
In total, across all satellites, hundreds of collision avoidance manoeuvres are performed annually, including by the International Space Station (ISS).
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