1. This cannot be stressed and enough. People are going to look at this and think we are on the verge of Kessler syndrome. Most of this is absolutely tiny, orbiting the same direction, and space is unfathomably huge.

  2. Just to clarify: the distances between each tracked object and the earth ARE to scale, as are their relative locations to each other.

  3. Geostationary orbit. The specific orbit that lets a satellite orbit precisely every 24 hours over the equator. Very useful for communication satellites because you can just point the receiving antenna that direction without needing to track anything.

  4. I think the big thing I missed the first time I looked at it was the perspective. That's not a straight line going out, its just a slightly denser ring going around the earth, that in this 2D graphic looks like a laser beam of garbage being shot into the sun.

  5. Each of these dots would be several kilometers wide if they were actually this size.. so every dot you see is the size of a city when in reality they are usually no bigger than a car..

  6. Yes but it looks scarier and more frustrating like this, therefore clicks. Their real size couldn’t be seen from this distance of course.

  7. Not really because this shows man made objects and they are only a few meters in size. However, there are actually many objects smaller then 10cm or even smaller then 1cm. Still, a 1cm shrapnel impacting your space station/satellite/space craft releases the energy of an exploding hand grenade. Such tiny and fast objects are tricky to detect or evade but can have very dangerous consequences.... Now for the massive pieces (meters in diameter) everything gets much worse.

  8. I'm glad you clarified this for those who may not have understood this. I am also happy with the design choice because it makes it easier to visualize the relative location and movement of the debris.

  9. It looks a bit dense, but the volume over which they are distributed on is bigger than Earth’s surface (think that there are millions of cars in most big cities)

  10. This is what I kind of didn't get about Gravity (the movie). In what situation would you encounter the same cloud of debris every 90 minutes, moving at high speed relative to you? If you share an orbit with the debris, then you're moving at the same speed. If the same orbit but opposite directions, then you should encounter it every 45 minutes. Same if you're in similar orbits, but different inclinations (or possibly never encounter it at all). If the orbits are totally different, then it seems unlikely you would encounter it periodically. Like, maybe you're in a circular orbit, and the debris is in an elliptical orbit with the same perihelion. In that case, the elliptical orbit is likely a different period than 90 minutes, and so you'd have to wait much longer to encounter the debris again. I suppose it's always possible to come up with an elliptical orbit that is exactly 90 minutes that touches your circular orbit, with both you and the debris arriving at that spot at the same time, but that seems very unlikely to me.

  11. Tiny shards of metal to deactivated, decades-old satellites. Most are shrapnel from discarded rocket stages that have exploded after use or satellites that have collided. Colloquially, all this debris is usually called "space junk."

  12. If it was effortless to collect and dispose of it, it would be done by the party that put it there, maybe.

  13. Again people... scale!, these always display satellites & tracked debris/junk at the size of a big town while most is under a meter. Not saying it isn't bad, but if this should be "educational" its important to have scale in mind.

  14. Yep, Also there's ~14k planes in the air at any given moment (7k to 21k depending on a time). And planes fly x10 times closer to Earth, so there's "less" space for planes than satellites on orbit.

  15. The problem is you and those 300,000 people arent going thousands of miles an hour. Small objects with lots of kinetic energy do bad things to other objects even if they are much bigger. If they were all in a belt in a stable orbit then its something easy to account for.

  16. It’s not stupid, it’s just a fact. You’re layering your own perspective over the fact and then saying it’s stupid, but facts alone aren’t stupid, only people are. :)

  17. It's amazing how years have gone by since that released and seeing it, and we still aren't really doing much. That show definitely made me realize how bad the space junk problem can get and it's, like, just seeing it get so bad in real time is mind boggling.

  18. Tours in 2122 “And if you look to the right, that’s the garbage planet, formerly known as Earth or Dirt for short”

  19. Yeap, some people think this is real. It can be 300 millions pieces of garbage and it would not look like this. When you don't know how big is the planet Earth. Fail...

  20. Space garbage is a problem. There’s a lot of old stuff that outlived it’s usefulness and is just floating in orbit. Sure it was beneficial, but there’s still absurd amounts of what’s effectively junk just floating around up there. I understand that people might not always have the best foresight but that does not mean that things that were previously beneficial to society as a whole has not become obsolete and refuse.

  21. This isn’t referring to functional satellites and there’s a lot more than a dozen of those. Starlink alone has 1000s.

  22. On this scale they would be smaller than an atom. An image taken from this viewpoint in real life would show NOTHING but space.

  23. Because the scale of the objects are extremely exaggerated. Each white pixel in this image is bigger than an entire city and its surrounds, which is thousands of times bigger than they actually are.

  24. Because the sizes of each dot represents 10 or 100s of km when in reality it’s more like you won’t be able to see it and so the small size would just dodge each other by miles

  25. Because this is very false. If they were that big, they'd be the size of a small town! If they were to represent these real-sized objects in relation to the earth they wouldn't even appear in the gif. And another thing these objects are in a non-stable orbit, at some point they will fall to Earth

  26. It's just hilarious that the middle of the ocean, the peak of Mt. Everest, and low orbit all have two things in common:

  27. Does garbage refer to all satelites in orbit or actual pieces of garbage that serve no actual function

  28. ELI5 please…. Question…how far does Earth’s gravitational field extend in comparison (if there is any) to the size of the object? If it holds the (93M mile away) moon in check, could an asteroid of decent size (wtf that is) moving slowly enough be caught in our orbit? Damn I hope this isn’t stupid.

  29. Tbf space is an irradiated vacuum at base, that’s like saying throwing your smelly socks on a mound at the dump has made all the difference.

  30. This is how flat-earthers think it would look in space and why they suggest satellites are not real. Theyre like "OH there are 10,000 satellites in space! The sky should be littered!!"

  31. I wonder if alien life forms out there are searching around and see earth and just think we’re just infested with bugs and say,,, ya, no thanks…

  32. Not surprising, didnt they find human garbage on Mars not too long ago that was left behind from some other mission?

  33. That's actually only the number for pieces >1cm across. It's estimated that there are millions of smaller pieces as well, each of them a bullet.

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