Pile-up of junk on space orbital at tipping point
The amount of junk in space is rising exponentially, with continuous collisions between abandoned equipment, spent rockets and other debris creating ever-growing clouds of dangerous fragments, an influential report has warned.
The report, commissioned by NASA, says the amount of hazardous material circling Earth has reached a "tipping point" and poses a real and increasing danger to satellites and the International Space Station.
It suggests developing a clean-up strategy, which could include catching debris with nets, magnets or giant umbrellas.
"The current space environment is growing increasingly hazardous to spacecraft and astronauts," said Donald Kessler, chairman of the committee responsible for the report and a retired head of NASA's orbital debris program.