Skip navigation
No more
Know more

This map shows where our space garbage is. This quote shows why you need to be afraid of it.

This map shows where our space garbage is. This quote shows why you need to be afraid of it.

The U.S. Strategic Command is aware of more than 21,000 man-made objects in orbit larger than 10 centimeters, but there are hundreds of thousands of even smaller pieces circling the Earth that can’t be tracked. Many of them are moving at extremely high speeds, some as fast as 22,000 mph. “A 10-centimeter sphere of aluminum would be like 7 kilograms of TNT,” one NASA scientist explained.

This map comes from NASA’s Orbital Debris Program Office. It shows all the…stuff humans have thrown into orbit since Sputnik, including bits of satellites that have cracked apart, or old upper-launch vehicle stages.

This is a huge problem. But there’s a solution that’s easier than you think. And no, it’s not lasers.

Ezra Klein | October 24, 2013 at 1:59 pm
Know more: Space trash is a big problem. These economists have a solution.
No more
Know more
The NBA teams you should bet on, in one ridiculously comprehensive chart
Max Ehrenfreund
No more
Know more
Max Ehrenfreund
ADVERTISEMENT
No more
Know more
You can thank Outkast for “crunk” and “skeet”
Max Ehrenfreund
No more
Know more
The Mafia are killing far fewer people in Italy
Max Ehrenfreund
No more
Know more
The cities where the most people bike and walk to work
Max Ehrenfreund
No more
Know more
Where Americans are still smoking
Ryan McCarthy
No more
Know more
How prescription painkillers are killing us, in one chart
Max Ehrenfreund
No more
Know more
Women think mammograms are far more effective than they truly are
Max Ehrenfreund
No more
Know more
Guys, this graph of MERS infections is really frightening
Max Ehrenfreund
No more
Know more
Dear Canada, thanks for all the ecstasy
Max Ehrenfreund
No more
Know more
There is no one living on 47 percent of the land in the United States
Max Ehrenfreund