the sky is falling, is it?
Millions of bits of debris with size upto 10 cm, 25000+ junk bits larger than 4 inches and a ton of space junk consisting upper stages of launch vehicles, inactive satellites etc are currently orbiting the earth at tremendous speeds of over 14000mph. All of these particles around us will lead to collisions between them at very high velocities. This will lead to formation of a large number of new fragments and the situation will be worsened recursively.
This is the initial stage of the
Kessler's Syndrome, a hypothetical state proposed by NASA scientist Donald Kessler in 1978. Since it could take a long time for a particle to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere after once leaving it, this particle will revolve around the earth and collide with other particles to form smaller particles, this would result in LEO(Lower Earth Orbit) being so populated with fast moving tiny particles that it would act like a giant shredder. The worst case scenario would be every satellite we’ve ever launched being shredded into million of tiny pieces and the humanity losing all the telecommunication and satellite facilities. This will also render any space mission a suicide mission as the space vehicles would be destroyed almost immediately. This will deprive our future generations devoid of any space exploration as they sit back and patiently wait for the debris to settle naturally.
damn, is it inevitable?
Yeah, kinda. NASA claimed in 2005 that even if no more junk is sent into space, the rate of formation of debris is higher than the rate of atmosphere pulling them back. Still people are sending Elvis for a ride. This is a serious problem considering humanity’s plans to explore Mars and beyond. No viable solution has been proposed towards this grave problem; and some countries are adding to the already big problem by testing anti-satellite missiles (claps). One satellite in particular is statistically more prone to trigger this chain reaction: the Envisat satellite, a massive 8000 kg piece of space junk. The Envisat lives where the density of debris is the thickest and two catalogued objects pass within 200 meters every year. The Envisat reached its end of life on 12 April 2012 but remains in orbit. However, it only requires an object as small as 10 kg to crash into the Envisat to create a worldwide digital blackout.