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Space junk endangers spaceship, satellites

(Xinhua)

09:17, September 05, 2011

BEIJING, Sept. 2 (Xinhuanet) -- The amount of space junk orbiting the Earth could cause fatal leaks in spaceships or destroy valuable satellites, according to a report released by the U.S. National Research Council.

Computer models have shown that the number of orbital debris "has reached a tipping point, with enough currently in orbit to continually collide and create even more debris, raising the risk of spacecraft failures," the Research Council said Thursday.

So far, there are 22,000 pieces of debris large enough to track from the ground, but smaller objects could still cause serious damage.

New international regulations are needed to limit space junk.

And more researches should be done to test the possible use of launching magnetic nets or giant umbrellas to push the debris further towards the Earth where it would burn up, or into a higher but safer orbit.

(Agencies)

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