Those of us in the space field have known of the hazards of orbital debris for quite some time. These are leftover parts of boosters, small parts, dead satellites, and the debris from China’s ASAT test in 2007. Much discussion has ensued on solutions to the problem, and NASA must account for the location of large pieces of debris whenever a launch takes place. The Department of Defense currently tracks some 8000+ pieces of orbital debris larger than 10 cm (4 inches) in size.
This New York Times article discusses a recent proposal for using a “celestial broom” to clean some of the debris up. Please check the article out, and post your comments below. I’d love to hear them!!