NASA: Astronaut and former senator Bill Nelson, who has now taken over as NASA administrator, complained about the current state of space junk in the Earth’s atmosphere. The opinion was published in an interview by the executive with CNN.
“It’s dangerous and shameful for everyone, including the United States, who allowed space debris to stay up there. (…) So, a quick answer to your question: it’s too dangerous and we have to make the nations stop throwing that garbage,” Nelson said.
For him, the biggest risk is that the waste of equipment and satellites disused are lethal during manned missions. Pieces of metal at high speeds can hit the International Space Station itself, for example, or damage an astronaut’s suit in the middle of a spacewalk.
Recently, the International Space Station itself dumped tons of garbage into orbit and, days later, was hit by debris in a collision. China has also come under fire this year after the recent crash of a satellite.
Atmospheric “cleaning” is a longstanding concern of space agencies. Among cleaning projects, there are initiatives that have not yet been put into practice by SpaceX and a company of Japanese origin.
Nelson said NASA will cooperate in managing these materials, but did not detail what actions could be taken.