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The Growing Problem of Space Junk

Author: Patrick Lin

Editor: Kira Tian

Artist: Cici Zhang

From tiny flecks of paint caused by surface erosion to large, abandoned satellites, space junk is a growing problem the world has to solve if it wants to continue activity in space. Space junk, usually orbiting the Earth, includes all artificial particles in space. Since space junk can travel at speeds of up to 17,500 miles per hour, it can pose a severe threat to spacecraft, whether a tiny particle or a large chunk of metal. Although space junk is dangerous to spacecraft, it is usually overlooked when a payload is launched into space.

Even though most people will never go to space, we still rely on services in space such as weather forecasting, telecommunications, and GPS systems, all of which are threatened by space junk. The Kessler syndrome or collisional cascading