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Arklatex In Depth: Space Debris - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Arklatex In Depth: Space Debris

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It's been the topic of science fiction television and movies. Thousands of pieces of space debris that orbit the earth. Should we earthlings be concerned or is this just a hazard for astronauts and satellites? KTBS Meteorologist Neil Shaw goes far out to find out more.

The recent success of the movie "Gravity" captured our attention to the danger of items flying around in outer space.

This prompts us to take a pause to consider how much of a problem this poses to our way of life. Many weather satellites and communication orbiters may take a direct hit from space junk which may disable the device. In fact this is of such a concern that NASA has it's own national orbital debris program office.

The office is comprised of scientists who track and calculate what is called orbital remediation. And this is cool stuff. They use the launching of orbiters to capture things or use a tether to move space chunks.

But should we really be all that concerned? As there are thousands of man made objects in outer space.

Greg Andrews is the Director of the Sci Port Planetarium. He says "There is definitely space debris that is out there in our atmosphere. Some of it comes from unfortunate collisions. A lot of it is just leftover junk that has gotten left out there in space."

These objects fly through space at some seventeen thousand miles per hour. And they are becoming more and more numerous.

Andrews goes on to state "There is sometimes a Hollywood perspective that as we send spacecraft to the international space station that we will be bombarded by some type of debris field. That is not entirely true"

So rest assured that NASA scientist are looking for a way to clean up the debris space field.

According to Greg Andrews "There are may programs that track this debris from a scientific perspective and me personally there are some other things out there I would rather worry about. Asteroids for example."

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