Can space debris land on your head?

There are separate Teslas stairs floating in space. There are also plenty of screws, nuts, bolts, and other scrap. How does that stay in space, and if it doesn’t stay in space, will it eventually land on Earth and possibly end up in someone’s head?

space debris

Space debris is a growing problem in space and on Earth. Because of the sheer velocity it creates in space, a single nut that breaks can easily turn into a kind of all-around bullet. In low Earth orbit, it can reach speeds of up to 26,000 kilometers per hour. All the space debris we know comes in there because of us. Moreover, especially now with the number of active space companies increasing, this will increase rather than decrease. That’s while space debris itself increases anyway: each collision creates additional particles. Half a million pieces are larger than one centimeter, but even the smallest bits of rubble can cause irreparable damage.

Recently, the International Space Station had to evade space debris, which will pass at an altitude of 800 meters: this is still a danger. After all, the collision will have serious consequences for the expensive technology on board, and most importantly, for the crew. There are more than 7,000 satellites orbiting the Earth, of which about 6,300 are no longer operational. Everything is floating around the earth, and they can all collide not only with the International Space Station, but also with other space debris, thus we end up creating some kind of whirlwind around the earth which will eventually make it difficult to keep the earth safe and sound. .

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Kessler effect

This is also called the Kessler effect and this affects the character played by Sandra Bullock in the movie Gravity: She’s on the International Space Station and when a devastating cloud of space debris rages, it seems like a lost cause. Now it’s already in space, but the more of these clouds there are, the less easy it will be to get into space. It seems to be far from our bed width, but it really isn’t at all. It’s a very realistic idea that makes it an even more important secret to be careful with our planet. Elon Musk might want to set up a colony on Mars… no matter how much money he spends on it: as long as he shoots Teslas into space for fun, he contributes to space debris and that Kessler effect.

So much for the space debris problem, because what about Earth itself? Could a piece of space debris suddenly come to Abingedam or Lelystad and fall on someone’s head? Fortunately, this chance is very small. This is partly because our atmosphere operates in such a way that it represents a major shift from weightless space to the harsh reality of gravity on Earth. It even happens quite often that satellites return to the Earth’s atmosphere. Results? Almost nothing: they often burn completely when they enter that atmosphere.

I got burned when I came back

This is a good idea, but it cannot be ruled out that space debris will never fall on your head. In 2001, for example, a missile platform collapsed in the desert of Saudi Arabia. The orbit of the stage of the rocket in space became less and less, and eventually returned to the atmosphere. However, it did not burn completely, and a piece of debris fell on the warm Saudi sand. This may seem like a coincidence, but things got worse in 2007, when pilots of an Airbus A340 saw a Russian spy satellite falling at high speed. I touched a hair (8 km long hair) after the plane.

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However, these are two characteristics, because a lot of space debris that falls to Earth falls into the sea. 75 percent of our planet is water, and there is a special kind of space cemetery in the Pacific Ocean as far from civilization as possible. Large space projects are often flown to that spot (as will likely happen with the International Space Station when it retires).

Thanks mission monitors!

Every three days a large object enters our atmosphere and we hardly notice it. It burns, but some things stay put anyway. For example, the fuel tank is a known survivor of re-entry: sometimes it can be the size of a Citroën C1. Not exactly something you want to obsess over. This is not necessary, because there are people arranging for us to remain safe on Earth. Mission controllers plan how to return space junk and satellites to Earth, for example by shoving them with some leftover fuel to drown them at sea.

However, this does not always work, as it turned out in 2011 when NASA’s Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite suddenly went into the atmosphere. However, it was only a 1 in 2,500 chance that a giant would end up on a person. In the end, the answer to the question of whether space debris can fall on your head can certainly not be answered with “no”, but at the same time you do not have to keep looking or wear a helmet.

Laura Jenny

When she’s not writing, she’s traveling around the great world of entertainment or a great place in the real world. Mario is the man of her life…

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