Good Question: How Much Space Junk Is Floating Around?

(CBS 5) — We’ve been sending stuff into space for more than 50 years. Greg in San Francisco asked this Good Question: How much space junk is floating around? And how does the International Space Station avoid it?

ANSWER: According to astronomer Ben Burress of the Chabot Space and Science Center, there are millions of pieces of space junk floating in outer space. Much of it is man-made from more than 50 years of space travel.

Space junk is extremely dangerous because of the speed it is traveling relative to the International Space Station. Holes have been punched in the skin of both the space shuttle and the space station over the years, but no humans have been hurt.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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