Photos: Space Debris Images & Cleanup Concepts



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

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

Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies (Tulsa World)

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 (via Twitter as @Cmdr_Hadfield)

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.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: Staff
News and editorial team is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. Originally founded in 1999, is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists. Our current news team consists of Editor-in-Chief Tariq Malik; Editor Hanneke Weitering, Senior Space Writer Mike Wall; Senior Writer Meghan Bartels; Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd, Senior Writer Tereza Pultarova and Staff Writer Alexander Cox, focusing on e-commerce. Senior Producer Steve Spaleta oversees our space videos, with Diana Whitcroft as our Social Media Editor.