This NASA chart shows the historical growth of man-made space debris around Earth since 1960.
Columbia Debris Display at NASA Promotes Safety
An overview of the Columbia debris reconstruction hangar in 2003 shows the orbiter outline on the floor with some of the 78,760 pieces identified to that date. More than 84,000 pieces of shuttle debris were recovered, some of which is included in a traveling NASA display to stress safety.
Russian Breeze-M Rocket Booster Debris
Rob McNaught at the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia caught this image of the space debris created by the explosion of a Russian Breeze-M rocket booster. The bright star Spica is at the right.
Lottie Williams with Space Debris
In 1997, Lottie Williams of Tulsa, Oklahoma reported that she was struck on the shoulder by falling debris while walking. It was later confirmed to be part of the fuel tank of a Delta II rocket. Additional debris from the Delta second stage reentry were recovered several hundred miles away in Texas.
Iridium/Cosmos Satellite Crash
This computer model depicts the new debris from the Iridium-Cosmos crash (in red) on top of the existing debris (in green) in orbit today.
'Bullet Hole' in ISS Solar Array
Chris Hadfield snapped this shot of a "bullet hole" created by a micrometeoroid or piece of space junk in one of the space station's solar arrays.