This Is What 60 Years of Space Junk Swarming Around Earth Looks Like
Well, in the sense that each dot is the actual location of space junk.
If you were out in space at the distance the camera would have to be in this video, you probably wouldn’t actually notice a whole lot of space junk—unless a piece of it ripped through your body at several hundred miles per hour. The International Space Station has had to take evasive maneuvers to dodge tiny bits of space junk for that reason, and this video gives a solid idea of just what a problem it can become.
Each little bit of space junk over the years might not seem like much, but it builds up over time. It might not actually look like this from out in space, but make no mistake—this visualization was made by Dr. Stuart Grey, lecturer at University College London and part of the Space Geodesy and Navigation Laboratory, and it uses real data on trackable pieces of space junk. Each dot, while not to scale, is a piece of refuse floating around our planet and endangering space missions.
—Please make note of The Mary Sue’s general comment policy.—