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There’s so much junk floating in Earth orbit that the ISS just added a debris sensor

space junk sensor

When you look up at the night sky all you see is stars and maybe a distant planet or two, but there's actually a whole lot of garbage floating around in Earth's orbit. The space around our planet is filled with satellites — both functional and long dead — and many of the defunct pieces of hardware have collided with one another, creating even more individual pieces of harmful debris. Now, the problem has gotten so bad that the International Space Station has been forced to install a sensor to detect when it gets hit with bits and pieces of artificial space junk.

The new sensor, which is called simply the Space Debris Sensor (or SDS for short), is designed to monitor any impacts caused by the smaller, untraceable bits of space junk that are simply too tiny for NASA to monitor. The SDS is firmly mounted on the exterior of the International Space Station, where it will remain for up to three years, giving scientists an idea of just how much garbage is colliding with the orbiting laboratory on a regular basis.

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There’s so much junk floating in Earth orbit that the ISS just added a debris sensor originally appeared on on Fri, 8 Dec 2017 at 11:59:29 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

There’s so much manmade junk in Earth orbit that satellites are in serious danger

space junk

Advancing technology and miniaturization go hand-in-hand. That's great when it comes to smartphones and ultra-thin laptops, but it's becoming a real problem in space. We've heard for a long time that "space junk" is a growing problem, but we're reaching a point where the population of tiny satellites — some which have long since actually worked — is becoming so dense that it's posing a risk not just to space travelers, but to you and I as well.

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