Experts believe a Russian satellite and a Chinese rocket launched on Thursday could crash into each other above Earth, according to reports.
Satellite-tracking company LeoLabs said Wednesday that failed objects could come within 39 feet of each other and there is a 10% chance they could still collide at 8:56 p.m. The company considers the potential crash to be a “very high risk.”
LeoLabs tweeted, “This event is going to be very risky and will likely be like this during the approaching time.”
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Jonathan McCadwell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said the two objects were a Soviet navigation satellite called Paras. [Kosmos 2004] Launched in 1989 and the Chinese Rocket Stage.
As of Tuesday, the Buzzets, with a mass of about three metric tons, were in low-Earth orbit at an altitude of about 615 miles, Leo Labs said.
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Because the objects are located above ground, they do not pose a risk to anyone on Earth. However, crashes can cause more debris in Earth orbit, increasing the risk of future collisions.
Debris can also threaten astronauts.
“If this turns into a collision, it’s probably ranging from thousands of pieces of debris to thousands of new pieces that are causing headaches for any satellite in orbit above or beyond Earth,” Dan Sapperley said. According to LeoLabs CEO, Business Insider. “This could be a much bigger problem than most people realize.”
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As of February this year, there are 128 million debris in orbit, according to the European Space Agency. Of these, about 34,000 10 objects are larger than 10 cm.