Climate change may be making our space junk problem even worse. The rising carbon dioxide levels in our planet’s upper atmosphere are causing its density to drop.
That lower density means that space junk designed to burn up in the denser lower atmosphere may experience less of a pull, which otherwise would have burnt up.
And that could make the space junk issue even worse — scientists are already tracking thousands of pieces of orbital debris in Earth’s orbit.
This is a genuine cause for alarm.
More than 2,500 objects larger than four inches are orbiting our planet below 250 miles. If fewer items were to be dragged into the lower atmosphere over the next 40 years, the problem could grow 50 fold.
The effects of a less dense upper atmosphere are still not entirely understood and experts are saying that more research is needed until we can get a better idea of how big the problem is — or how big it will get in the future.
But the problem could soon be exacerbated by the likes of SpaceX and Amazon, which are planning to build out extensive constellations made up of thousands of satellites to beam down broadband internet.
Reference- The New York Times, Futurism, European Conference on Space Debris, Bloomberg Opinion