Satellite tracking company LeoLabs launched the alarms after it found a dead Russian satellite and that a discarded Chinese missile had a 10 percent chance of colliding tonight. The projected tracks of a dead creature see them in danger of colliding over Antarctica. The collision could spell disaster for future space explorations, as it would create a huge cloud of debris in the atmosphere. Experts have previously warned that there are a lot of dead satellites in Earth’s orbit.
LeoLabs fired an alarm after finding that two pieces of space garbage had a 10 percent chance of colliding in orbit.
The data indicates that satellites are likely to lose each other narrowly over a distance of between 8 and 43 meters at 1:56 AM GMT.
But LeoLabs also said on Wednesday that the estimated error distance for objects could be only 12 meters, as it is impossible to account for factors affecting the flight path and the chances of collision could change dramatically.
“These numbers haven’t changed drastically and this is still a high-stakes event,” LeoLabs spokeswoman Marie Devenszo told Business Insider.
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The Russian Kosmos-2004 satellite and the Chinese Chang Zheng 4C missile have been in orbit for years.
Cosmos-2004 was launched in February 1989 to assist the Soviets with navigation and communications, but has since ceased operations while continuing to circumnavigate the south.
The Chang Zheng 4C is a series of rockets that Beijing uses for space operations. This missile was launched in 2009 and is rotating north.
The objects combined weigh 2.8 metric tons and are located about 600 miles above the Earth’s surface.
But the California Aerospace Corporation rejected LeoLabs’ warnings, and calculated that the risk of collision between the two objects is much lower.
According to Ted Mulhaupt, head of the space debris analysis division, the chances of a collision occurring are only 1 in 23 billion, and he believes they will miss each other by about 70 meters.
He added, “I don’t mean to cast any shadows of any kind on their operations, their sensors, or anything else.
“But the sensors and the data we have access to say we’re pretty sure they won’t hit.”
Experts have previously described space debris as a growing concern, as scientists have warned that it may make the atmosphere impenetrable.
Current estimates from scientists indicate that about 170 million pieces of space waste remain in orbit, with only 22,000 being tracked by experts.
In September, the UK government awarded seven companies a stake in excess of £ 1 million to tackle space debris.
Two companies, Deimos and Northern Space and Security, will develop optical sensors to track space objects from the United Kingdom, while Andor in Northern Ireland will improve an astronomical camera to track and map smaller debris.