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[June theme report] Space Pollution: A Growing Problem

by Nguyen Trang | 09-06-2023 21:31 recommendations 0

Space pollution is a growing problem that threatens our ability to explore and use space safely. It is caused by the accumulation of human-made objects in orbit around Earth, including defunct satellites, rocket bodies, and other debris.

Space pollution can pose a number of risks, including:

  • Collisions: A collision between two objects in orbit can create even more debris, which can lead to a chain reaction of collisions. This could eventually make it impossible to safely launch or operate satellites in certain orbits.
  • Damage to satellites: Even a small piece of debris can damage a satellite, potentially disabling it or even destroying it. This could disrupt critical services, such as communications, navigation, and weather forecasting.
  • Increased risk of accidents: Space debris can also increase the risk of accidents involving spacecraft. For example, a piece of debris could damage the heat shield of a spacecraft during re-entry, resulting in a crash.

The amount of space pollution is increasing at an alarming rate. In 2022, there were over 23,000 pieces of tracked space debris larger than 10 centimeters in orbit. This number is expected to continue to grow as more and more satellites are launched into space.

There are a number of things that can be done to address the problem of space pollution. These include:

  • Reducing the amount of debris that is created: This can be done by designing satellites and rockets that are more durable and less likely to break up during launch or on orbit.
  • Removing existing debris: This can be done by using nets, harpoons, or other technologies to capture and de-orbit debris.
  • Creating international agreements: These agreements could regulate the launch and operation of satellites in order to reduce the amount of debris that is created.

The problem of space pollution is a serious one, but it is not insurmountable. By taking action now, we can prevent this problem from getting worse and ensure that space remains a safe and accessible place for future generations.

Here are some additional facts about space pollution:

  • The smallest piece of space debris that has caused damage to a satellite was a fleck of paint.
  • The largest piece of space debris is the upper stage of a Chinese rocket that was launched in 1992. It is estimated to be over 100 meters long.
  • The United States is the largest contributor to space debris, followed by Russia and China.
  • The European Space Agency estimates that it would cost over $100 billion to remove all of the space debris in low Earth orbit.

If you're interested in this topic, here is some extra resource:
Space junk: The cluttered frontier


  • Vietnam Former E-gen Ambassador Nguyen Trang
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James Mentor

  • James Mentor says :
    Hello Nguyen!! This is your mentor James.

    First of all, I'm terribly sorry for the late comment!

    I see that you've written your theme report in a very thorough manner! Your report suggests a number of consequences that space debris and vehicle fragments may cause, followed by some viable solutions to counter this problem. Just like atmospheric carbon reduction, lowering the formation of space debris should be prioritized by altering the materials used for the satellites, as you've mentioned above.

    Thanks for writing such a meaningful report! Great work.
    Posted 05-07-2023 15:59

Yewon Mentor

  • Yewon Mentor says :
    Hello Nguyen! This is your mentor Yewon.

    Before I start, I apologize for the late comment.

    You have written a great report about space pollution, which is a big problem these days. As you mentioned above, space pollution has risks of accidents like collision, which might cause damage to the satellites. Therefore it is significant to manage aircraft and space debris so that we can develop a space environment more safe and clean. I think the solutions you supposed in the report are very critical.

    Thank you for your meaningful report! Grat work!
    Posted 04-07-2023 16:39

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