Astronauts on the International Space Station had a close call with space debris in June, and things are only going to get worse from here on out, warns a new report. In fact, the amount of junk orbiting earth has now passed the "tipping point," says the National Research Council. It calls for NASA to get a better handle on the problem quickly and for the US to enlist the help of other nations to figure out solutions, reports the Washington Post.
“We’re going to have a lot more [debris] collisions, and at an increasingly frequent rate,” says a former NASA scientist who helped draft the report. It's not just astronauts at risk: Multimillion-dollar satellites can be rendered useless when even a small piece of debris hits them. And in a vicious cycle, the more collisions that happen, the more debris is created. We'll hope discarded pizza boxes don't add to the problem.