WARNING: NASA Says Space Debris Will Trigger World War III! How dangerous is space debris? Very! In 2011, NASA warned that the level of space junk had risen exponentially, and had reached a “tipping point.” They are especially worried about satellites and the International Space Station. The problem is – a collision is one thing – identifying where it originated is another! A new paper suggests that falling space debris poses a “special political danger” that could trigger an international incident.
The problem is that ‘space junk’ can not be readily distingushed from a military attack. That’s the concern from Acta Astronautica who published a paper on this subject. “The owner of the impacted and destroyed satellite can hardly quickly determine the real cause of the accident,” writes Vitaly Adushkin at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow.
The problems is that debris can approach speeds of more than 30,000 mph and even small pieces of spent rocket parts – even chips of paint can do a lot of damage at that speed. And the danger of it hitting a military satellite and being mistaken for a hostile act are huge! The realm of space where most military satellites is about 100 to 1200 miles above the surface, and that’s where most military satellites are deployed.
The sheer number of satellites and volume of debris orbiting Earth is huge. In fact, NASA estimates that there are more than 500,000 pieces of space junk currently being tracked in orbit, traveling at speeds up to 17,500 MPH which is fast enough for a relatively small piece of orbital debris to damage a satellite or a spacecraft. Most of the debris is small – around the size of a marble – but some 20,000 of them are bigger than a softball.
NASA is especially concerned about the International Space Station, space shuttles and other spacecraft with humans aboard. NASA takes the threat of collisions with space debris seriously and has a long-standing set of guidelines on how to deal with each potential collision threat.