One minute read. Written by a grade 8 student
On March 27th 2019, India fired a missile from the ground that destroyed an Indian satellite that was orbiting the Earth. This was successfully done to demonstrate India’s power.
However, the blast lead to the creation of thousands of small pieces (or space debris). NASA has been able to identify 400 of them, which means that they are large pieces. Out of the identified, 60 are larger than 10 cm and 24 of them pose a threat of collision to the International Space Station (ISS).
The ISS is a laboratory in space where experiments are conducted. It can hold up to 6 astronauts at one time. So, why are such relatively small pieces considered a threat to the ISS? These pieces move at a very fast pace.
Therefore, they can crash into the space station. But, since India is not the first country to do this, there is already a lot of space debris from previous launches, crashes and anti-satellite tests. In 2007, China conducted a test similar to India’s. It created a massive number of space debris, around 150,000 pieces, and most are still present in the Earth’s atmosphere. However, the debris caused by India’s test is likely to dissipate and not remain in space.
You may wonder what happens if an object comes to close to the ISS? The answer is that a Debris Avoidance Maneuver (DAM) takes place. This means that the ISS is navigated away from its original location. This has happened 25 times since 1999.
Now do you understand what space debris are? Why don’t you research and find out more? Can it hit earth and harm us??