The Graphic Truth: Space junk — enter the trashosphere
A Russian missile shot down on Monday a Soviet-era defunct satellite, breaking it up into thousands of fragments and throwing NASA into a tizzy. As the number of satellites in space has grown rapidly in recent years, the amount of trash floating up there too now vastly exceeds the tonnage of the satellites themselves from accidents, collisions, explosions, and the odd missile hit. It's not just a litter problem — space junk moves at over 17 thousand miles per hour, as fast as functioning spacecraft, so even a tiny fragment can severely damage a satellite. We compare the number of satellites to the debris circling Earth.