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Space Junk

Like junk that builds up an the Earth, that needs to be trashed, there is also a lot of what we call ‘Space Junk’ around the Earth in our local space.

See below some of the junk in space. Whether is man made junk or space debris, it is actually becoming a real problem that we will need to address in time.

Man Made Junk


For many years, we have been placing satellites around the Earth in the local space. While many of the satellites are working, some of them are not, and have died out. It would be too expensive to take all of these un used satellites down, so they basically float around in space. So, these things are called man made junk!

When we do not take away the un used satellites that are in a very high orbit, they are instead pushed away further into the local space around the Earth, keeping them out of the way of other satellites and man made things. For now anyway!


The below picture is a computer generated image of debris that includes un used satellites that are in our local space.


Space Rocket Debris:

There is also junk caused from space rocket launches and flights.

Because now that are so many missions to space from space launches, there is always something left that comes off the rockets after launch. They parts of the rockets also stay in our local space, and in up as space junk and debris.

Some of the parts left from the missions launches crash back to Earth like in the picture below, while other parts orbit in our local space.

Natural Junk


Meteorites could be classed as space junk. They wiz through our local space, in the solar system and beyond. These lumps of rocks and dust have nowhere to go other than anywhere gravity takes them. They are junk, however they are such a wonderful type of junk.     


So, while there is natural junk or debris out there in all of space, and in our local space, its not so much the natural pieces we should be worried about. It’s more so the man made space junk that will be a problem in the future.

We are going to need a plan in the future to clear all the man made junk left behind, as the junk will continue to build up, making further space exploration and communications difficult.  


Kids Fun Facts Corner

# 1. Space Junk has a negative effect to other satellites and stations in space.

# 2. Space Junk has existed since the late 1950’s.   

# 3. If Space Junk is not cleared up, we could be trapped on the Earth in the future, making it near extremely difficult for space travel. 

# 4. Various space agencies are working on different ways to clear up Space Junk. 


Q&A Corner

Q. What types of space junk are there?

Q. How fast can space junk travel?

Q. How long has space Junk existed?

Q. Provide an example of man-made space junk?

Q. Provide an example of natural space junk?

Download questions about space junk here: space junk (answers are on this page)

For further reading and more information on space junk visit junk

Key Vocabulary Space. Debris. Dust. Rocks. Junk.


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