Space junk: Even small fragments have the potential to cause significant damage

Earth is slowly being wrapped in a cloud of debris. Experts estimate that nearly 130 million pieces of scrap metal are currently orbiting our planet. Most are only a few millimeters in size, but there are also tanks, rocket stages and old satellites.

Because of their high speed, even small fragments have the potential to cause significant damage. As a result, space junk is now being monitored.

Radar and laser systems can see objects between five and ten centimeters large. They can also show where the debris is located.

If a collision is imminent, satellites and even the space station can be programmed to change course to avoid the debris.