Space Junk Reaching Tipping Point

The amount of debris orbiting the Earth has reached “a tipping point” for collisions, which would in turn generate more of the debris that threatens astronauts and satellites, according to a U.S. study released last week.

NASA needs a new strategic plan for mitigating the hazards posed by spent rocket bodies, discarded satellites and thousands of other pieces of junk flying around the planet at speeds of 17,500 miles (28,164 kilometres) per hour, the National Research Council said in the study.

The council is one of the private, nonprofit U.S. national academies that provide expert advice on scientific problems.

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