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View of satellite population including space debris - taken from low Earth orbit.
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NASA

Junk in Space!
News story originally written on June 30, 1997

On Earth, humans make trash. This trash can pollute our environment. Humans are doing the same thing in space. Right now there are millions of man-made objects floating in space called "space junk". Space junk includes things like satellites that aren't being used or paint that has fallen off of the space shuttle.

Man-made debris orbits at a speed of 17,500 miles/hour. That's much faster then any human could drive! Even a small speck of paint could do great damage if it hit a spacecraft at such a high speed!

Spacecraft must be protected by shields that are not hurt when they get hit with space junk. Or the spacecraft must be able to move out of the way so it doesn't get hit by the space junk.


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