Space, like everywhere else, is getting surprisingly crowded. An estimated 370,000 bits of junk are floating in Earth’s orbit, traveling up to 22,000mph. Most of the debris is the remnants of rocket boosters and satellites collisions, but there are some odd bits you might not expect to see floating by, including a pair of pliers, a camera, and a toothbrush. These items, no matter how small, pose a potential damage threat to manned spaceships and valuable satellites circling the Earth.
Image courtesy of James Yoder
That’s why UT-Austin engineering student James Yoder has created Stuff in Space, a website designed to visualize everything orbiting our planet. The concept is to promote space flight safety and the protection and peaceful use of our space environment by sharing space services and information with satellite owners, operators, academia and other institutions. Stuff in Space provides daily orbit data updates from space-track.org, using satellite information to calculate their positions. Stuff in Space’s creator Yoder is currently a student at the University of Texas.