The first fines for littering… in space!

Space Junk
Image: NASA

The United States has given its first fine ever to a company for leaving litter in space. The fine, about $150,000, was given to a satellite television company for not moving one of its old satellites. There are millions of pieces of ‘space junk’ in orbit around Earth. They range from small pieces of metal to entire failed satellites. Space junk can cause huge problems if it collides with operating satellites. Scientists are working on ways to clean it up, and fines could help prevent companies from leaving more.


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More than 100 million fragments of space junk are smaller than 1 centimeter across. They include pieces that fall off satellites due to wear.

Around 1,000,000 pieces are between 1 and 10 centimeters across! They include dropped tools, screws, cables, and space cameras.

More than 30,000 pieces of space junk are larger than 10 centimeters across. They include dead satellites that have failed or been left in orbit at the end of their mission.

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