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Top Five Fixes for the Top Five Reasons to Fear Space Junk

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If you forget to take the trash out at home, you may be subjected to a stern lecture, a time-out or the silent treatment. In space, however, imagine all of that trash hurtling around the earth at dangerous and dizzying speeds. At this moment, there are hundreds of thousands of pieces of debris just waiting to wreak havoc on anything that gets in the way. It doesn’t have to be big to be destructive – imagine being hit by a dime going 20,000 mph. But before you add space junk to your list of “Things to Worry About,” here’s a list of the ways Lockheed Martin’s new Space Fence is going to play garbage collector and clean up the stratosphere.

  What do Don Draper and the U.S. Air Force’s recently discontinued Space Surveillance System have in common? They’re from the same era.



  The new Space Fence will be able to track ten times more debris than the previous  system, and with far more precision and accuracy.
  Out of sight, out of mind: if it’s not directly overhead, our current system can’t accurately track it.



  Space Fence can simultaneously detect, track, and characterize objects anywhere within a wide field of view.
  Is it bigger than a basketball? If it isn’t, we probably can’t see it.



  Space Fence will be able to spot and track debris as small as a marble.
  I can barely remember where I put my car keys – how are you going to keep track of all that space garbage?



  NASA and the Department of Defense have been cataloging and monitoring space garbage for many years. Space Fence will help identify more types and sizes of debris, which helps NASA keep our spacecraft out of harm’s way.
  Is our government really building a giant fence out in space?



  The Space Fence is actually a high-frequency radar that scans the sky. Imagine the Batman spotlight, but instead of a bat in the sky, you light up all the debris crossing the beam. By tracking and cataloging all of those pieces and crunching the numbers, you can eventually predict where the junk is going and how to avoid it.