Space Junk 3D

Synopsis: Space Junk is a visually explosive journey of discovery that weighs the solutions aimed at restoring our planet's orbits.
Director(s): Melissa R. Butts
Production: Melrae Pictures
38 min

...a small piece of

space--they call it junk

--had been causing a big

headache for NASA scientists...

Houston is monitoring a piece

of debris that could possibly

pass in front of the International

Space Station's orbit...

...talking about this

6" square piece...

...of it colliding with the

International Space Station

is within the red threshold.

There is not enough time... seek shelter...

...travelling at

17,000 miles an hour...

...if it were to hit

the space station...

...could do a little damage...

...could really cause

a very bad day...

...6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0...

The eagle has landed.

It's one small step for man,

one giant leap for mankind.

After half a century

of space exploration,

we're now suddenly faced with what's

long been a staple of science fiction:

an orbiting junkyard of

cast-off space debris.

The American southwest is

a breathtaking testament

to the forces of nature

that have shaped our world.

OK. We're comin' up on it now.

This is Meteor Crater

near Winslow, Arizona.

It is considered the world's best

preserved meteorite impact site.

Meet Donald Kessler, retired

head of orbital debris at NASA.

His guide, Eduardo Gonzales...

A 16-year veteran of Meteor

Crater and a man who shares

Kessler's passion for the

wonders of the universe...

So Don, how was your ride up here?

Oh, it was wonderful! It

was like landing on the moon!

But we're on earth! Can you believe it?

At Meteor Crater, they

always find common ground.

...result of a collision from the Asteroid

Belt that happened 50,000 years ago...

For Don, this place

brings some of the science

of orbital debris to life in a big way.

Follow me and I'll show you.

Nearly 1 mile across, 2.5

miles around and 550 feet deep,

Meteor Crater is the astounding

outcome of a nickel-iron meteorite

hitting earth with the energy of

more than 20 million tonnes of TNT,

creating all of this in just 10 seconds.

The fact that this meteorite came

from outer space makes me awestruck.

We're just seeing a

small slice of the process

that really made the Earth what it is.

It's a sobering reminder

of the incredible collisions

that occur throughout the universe,

from meteor impacts like this one

to the collision of entire galaxies.

Throughout time, space collisions have

occurred as part of the natural process.

Scientist believe that

billions of years from now,

our own Milky Way galaxy and its closest

neighbour, the Andromeda Spiral Galaxy,

could collide and merge to create

a new giant elliptical galaxy,

spewing stars along the way.


Collisions like this have

forever played a major role

in the creation and formation

of our own Solar System.

It's this natural process that

concerned Kessler over 30 years ago.

Kessler's question was: If all of these

collisions are occurring in nature,

what's going to happen to all of the

man-made objects we're putting into space?

At the time, Kessler's thinking

did not align with popular beliefs.

Ever since human ventured into space,

we've embraced the Big Sky Theory.

The theory holds that

the space is so big,

you could launch anything into orbit and

it wouldn't collide with anything else.

But it turns out that space

is smaller than we thought.

Low-Earth Orbit, or LEO as it's called,

is home to the International Space Station,

the Hubble Telescope and

most of our satellites.

In Middle-Earth Orbit, we find

GPS and weather satellites.

Geosynchronous Orbit, or GEO, the

orbit farthest away from the Earth,

is crowded with

communication satellites.

With so many objects careening

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"Space Junk 3D" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 25 Feb. 2020. <>.

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