Thousands of human-made objects orbit earth and the majority of them no longer work. There’s a risk this space debris could collide with functioning satellites, which provide vital services like GPS and weather warnings.
To track and predict its behaviour, Prof Moriba Jah and his colleagues built AstriaGraph – a near real-time map of where each object is located in space. He explains that the system is monitoring around 200 ‘super-spreaders’ – large rocket bodies that have the potential to break into thousands of pieces.
Video by Jennifer Green.
For more on sustainability in space, listen to BBC CrowdScience: Can space exploration be environmentally friendly?