Space junk: Time for Earth to clear out the attic


We’re seeing promotions for the environment everywhere, as Al Gore’s missive and childhood asthma and melting ice seem to be sinking in. The real futurists have looked to space as an exit, in case we burn out our planet (like dusty Mars) and have to move somewhere else (hey, Venus is cooling down).

But now, the European Space Agency notes the Earth is getting ringed in junk — all those little rockets we’ve put up that burn and fragment and float around at millions of miles an hour. By 2112, ESA says the 6,000+ satellites we’ve launched in orbit since the 1950s should continue to collide with each other to create a haze of debri like the ring above. Anyone trying to get through may blow up as whizzing space metal punctures the rocket life support systems.

Whoops. Don’t you hate it when you paint yourself into a corner?

(Via Gizmodo.)

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