JULIAN BAUM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JULIAN BAUM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Space junk collision. Artwork of space junk colliding with a futuristic space station. The impacting debris here is a sliver of metal, and a broken satellite solar panel is approaching. Space junk is the debris left in orbit by the hundreds of space missions which have taken place since the late 1950s. It mainly consists of old, dead payloads, burned out rocket bodies and operational debris such as optics covers and deployment equipment. It poses a serious threat to future missions due to the high risk of a collision. Even the smallest collision could severely damage space hardware, and a large collision on an inhabited satellite, as here, could prove life-threatening.
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