When you gaze up at the moon and stars at night, the last thing you think about is space junk. Trash. Dead satellites floating around causing potential harm. But the truth is that space junk is becoming a big problem. Tomorrow, a large piece of space trash will collide with our moon, leaving a crater the size of several semitrailer trucks.

CBS2 reports that the piece of space junk that will hit the moon this week weighs in excess of three tons! It will make impact on Friday morning while traveling at a rate of speed of 5,800 mph. It will collide with the far side of the moon, and could take months to confirm via satellite images. This piece of space junk is actually an old rocket launched by China over ten years ago. It has been traveling through space since that time. Friday, it will hit the moon...hard. But the moon can take it. You can see by looking at the moon's surface that it has been hit by thousands of meteors and survived to shine at night.

But space junk poses a larger problem for future space exploration. NHM reports that there are currently 2,000 active satellites in Earth's orbit. There are also 3,000 dead satellites still floating around up there too! There are 34,000 pieces of junk larger than 10 centimeters and 128 million pieces of junk larger than 1 millimeter. And even those tiny pieces of junk can do real damage to an existing satellite, or the International Space Station, which has had to do 25 debris avoidance maneuvers since 1999.

Several companies have been developing technologies that will essentially grab dead satellites and force them back into the Earth's atmosphere where they burn up. The real danger is that eventually there will be so much space junk that the Earth's orbit would become unstable.

So while space might be the 'final frontier, we need to do some cleaning up first.


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