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The world's first photo has been taken of a piece of space junk orbiting Earth

The world's first photo has been taken of a piece of space junk orbiting Earth

We had to wait until 2024, and it turned out to be frighteningly impressive.

More than 9,000 tons of space junk are currently orbiting Earth. This amount of debris is a veritable minefield for newly launched satellites and spacecraft (even a small piece of debris can put a hole in a spacecraft if it's going fast enough), but it could pose a danger to us here on Earth. If it doesn't burn up after leaving its orbit in our atmosphere.

In addition, longer space debris, consisting of spent rocket stages, frozen fuel, peeling paint, and abandoned satellites, has been accumulating for many decades. The colliding elements are broken up into smaller pieces and are more difficult to track, which means that the chance of colliding with, for example, an active satellite increases.

Space agencies around the world are interested in cleaning up space debris. They do not want their spacecraft to become victims of a cosmic collision, and the Japanese private space company Astroscale wants to help with this, on the one hand, by identifying pieces of debris, and on the other hand, by destroying potentially space debris. To be dangerous.

As a first step, private space company Astroscale took the world's first close-up image of a piece of space debris, and it did all of this by placing a satellite launched for the purpose into orbit close to the target – here's the eerily impressive shot:

Click on the image for higher resolution!

(source: Life ScienceImage: star scale)

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