Two large pieces of space debris are approaching and may collide in Earth’s orbit. They are now advancing on a collision course at a relative speed of 52,950 km / h, and it may be that an impact between them occurs on Thursday night (15), at 21h56 (Brasília time). Fortunately, there is no risk to terrestrial populations, as the objects must be located above the South Atlantic Ocean, close to the Antarctic coast.
According to the tracking company LeoLabs, the probability of a collision is more than 10%. It may seem small, but it is a number considered to be very high. “This event continues to be of high risk and will probably remain so until the moment of closer approximation,” said the company last Wednesday (14), on Twitter. Despite the concern, it may be that the rubble passes through each other only “grazed”.
Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer and satellite tracker at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, discovered that one of the objects is the stage of a Chinese rocket, while the other is the remnant of Soviet Parus series satellites (or Kosmos, a constellation of satellites). communication and navigation for military and civilian use). Together, the two objects add up to a mass of approximately 2,800 kg.
1/ This event continues to be very high risk and will likely stay this way through the time of closest approach. Our system generates new conjunction reports 6-8x per day on this event with new observation data each time. pic.twitter.com/d3tRbcV2P0
— LeoLabs, Inc. (@LeoLabs_Space) October 14, 2020
Although an eventual collision does not pose any risk to any human being, the impact results could be very negative for low earth orbit. There is so much space junk there, that a collision between objects of this size can result in a domino effect, with the debris flying towards other debris orbiting the planet. According to LeoLabs, the collision could result in a 10% to 20% increase in the number of objects scattered in orbit.
The problem of space waste has been a challenge for agencies, companies and scientists working with space exploration for some time. Last month, for example, the International Space Station (ISS) was forced to make a maneuver to avoid one of those debris that went into Earth’s orbit. Although there are some interesting proposals to solve the problem, there is still no solution to eliminate space debris for good. For now, we can only hope that nothing worrying happens.
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