The junkyard above us

There was a close call aboard the International Space Station today when a piece of space junk came within 800 feet of the ISS. The astronauts were told to scramble into the Soyuz capsule and prepare to return to earth if the junk hit and crippled the space station.

It’s surprising there aren’t more of these alarms, given the amount of pollution in space. This latest image from NASA, for example, documents the current position of space junk (if you’re bored at work today, by the way, click on the image for the large view and then see if the objects appear to move).

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It’s believed that any space junk bigger than about 1/4 of an inch could penetrate a spacecraft.

All around the world today, people went to jobs whose sole purpose is to watch the flotsam and jetsam of our advanced technical civilization.

  • Tyler

    By the way, the ISS is in Low Earth Orbit, which means it’s in that lint ball close to Earth. No wonder we hear about this every few months!