Space Debris in Darmstadt

According to the European Space Agency, after more than 4,000 space launches since 1957, near-Earth space is home to 13,000 orbiting objects, only about 600 to 700 of which are operational spacecraft. The rest is space debris -- stuff which "no longer serve[s] any useful purpose."

It's a mess up there. Aside from pieces of satellites, rocket bodies fragments and other clutter currently tracked, many more orbiting objects are smaller than 10 cm and cannot be tracked.

What to do about all this space junk? There is no quick cleanup, but there are conferences. This week, the
Fourth European Conference on Space Debris, takes place in Darmstadt, Germany, April 18 - 20. The gathering is organized by ESA, and a crew of co-sponsors, including ASI, BNSC, CNES, DLR, COSPAR, IAA.

And if you can't get to Darmstadt, check out ESA's Focus On Space Debris,
Part 1 and Part 2.

And remember: Don't litter.


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