15,000 pieces of trash in orbit

– Space debris increased by 3% during the first half of this year, according to the latest quarterly report by the NASA Orbital Debris Program Office.

In six months the amount of space trash surrounding the Earth went from 15,090 to 15,550, that is 4.6% more than last year because in July 2009 the number was 14,863, according to Elmundo.es.

Over 80% of the rockets, satellites and other space vehicles launched since 1957 that are now in Earth orbit no longer serve any purpose.

This cosmic trash moves at speeds ranging from 8 to 10 km per second, as revealed by a recent report published by the NASA.

A few weeks ago a group of engineers at the Global Aerospace Corporation in Altadena, California, said helium balloons could clean up debris. According to engineers helium balloons could help bring non-operational satellites back to Earth.

Although astrophysicist Lopez Ericson, director of the Astronomical Observatory, says space debris does not pose a risk to Earth because the atmosphere acts as a protective shield,, the subject is of concern to most developed nations.

In 2009, Germany held the European Conference on Space Debris, at which experts agreed that this kind of garbage has accumulated over recent years as scientific and commercial uses of space has expanded.

The biggest challenge for scientists is to identify these wastes in order to avoid possible collisions with ships that orbit the earth, since both devices can end up being destroyed.

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