UK is planning to remove debris from space. Here's why every country should be doing it!

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Sep 16, 2020, 07.23 PM(IST) Edited By: Bharat Sharma

This computer-generated image released by the European Space Agency (ESA) on April 15, 2008 shows trackable objects in Low Earth Orbit (LOE) around Earth Photograph:( AFP )

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The overcrowding around Earth could become a hindrance in space exploration

It’s no surprise that the space around our home, planet Earth is becoming increasingly crowded. Over the last decade, new countries have entered the “Space war”, deploying satellites and technology of their own over time. However, this has clogged space, and filled it with debris. 

The overcrowding around Earth could become a hindrance in space exploration.

UK takes the stage

Looks like the United Kingdom is attempting to clean up space a little bit. The country’s Business Secretary Alok Sharma recently announced a funding for the clean up routed through the country’s space agency - UKSA.

The £1 million funding (around $12,96,880) will be used to clear space debris, even though no concrete way to remove it has been formulated yet.

Also read: NASA seeking explorers for mining on the moon, all nationalities welcome

Many scientists are worried about debris in Earth’s low orbit, which could threaten the International Space Station (ISS).

Size is an important factor for everything in space - small pieces of debris that could prove to be fatal are difficult to spot in space, and there is no way of accurately pinning them down.

160 million pieces of debris!

According to DailyMail, there are around 160 million pieces of space debris around planet Earth. These have been captured by our gravity, and circling around the planet at speeds of 18,000 miles per hour.

Additionally, out of these 160 million pieces, at least one million may be larger than 1 cm, posing risks of collision with satellites.

Scientists worry that such debris is capable of setting a chain reaction of destruction, whereby a single damage to a single satellite could escalate into large scale global satellite technology damage.

Also read: Scientists recently scanned 10 million stars for alien technology, what did they find?

What does this mean, you wonder? For starters, good bye GPS! In case our satellite connections are seriously severed, we will lose access to the map technology which has made navigating around the world easier. Additionally, mobile communication would be heavily disrupted, and weather forecasting interrupted.

According to Sharma, the UK’s Business Secretary, millions of pieces of space debris are orbiting the Earth, and this presents a “significant threat to UK satellite systems“ which are responsible for providing essential services mentioned above.

This allocation of funds might make spotting smaller objects in space a reality. One of the projects, called “Life Me Off”, will come up with an AI algorithm to differentiate debris from useful satellites. It is one of seven proposals that the UKSA is currently considering.