Space debris nearly smashes space station

There are 6000 odd satellites in our atmosphere—of which only 800 remain operational—plus thousands of other objects from space launches and accidents.

Some of this unexpected space debris came flying close to the International Space Station the other day, prompting its six astronauts to take shelter inside two evacuation pods.

The six staff on the station climbed into the two Soyuz capsules docked on the ISS in case of just such an emergency, and waited the threat out. In the end, the debris sailed past the station, but at a distance of just 250 meters [820 feet]. Normally the ISS is able to maneuver out of the way of hazards, but NASA had only learned of the problem the previous day, leaving no time to change course. Learn more here or here.

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