WALL-E minefield as ‘100 trillion’ lumps of space junk rain down on Earth

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    A WALL-E-style minefield of one hundred trillion' lumps of space junk has started to rain down on Earth in flames, according to a top Brit boffin.

    Dr Imogen Napper said the space between Earth and the Moon was stuffed with so many satellites they were starting to crash into each other.

    That is before the number in orbit shoots up from its current 9,000 to 60,000 by 2030.

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    Flaming rubbish discarded by the International Space Station has been spotted burning in the sky over California, US.

    Dr Napper, a research fellow at the University of Plymouth, said unless a legally-binding international treaty was introduced to clean up space junk astronauts would face hazardous trips into orbit – mirroring scenes from animated 2008 Disney movie WALL-E (corr).

    She said: "Space debris has been entering the atmosphere above California.

    "The flaming rubbish was discarded by the International Space Station in 2020.

    "Currently there are 9,000 satellites in Earth's orbit above us. But this is expected to increase to 60,000 by 2030.

    "Satellites can collide potentially creating thousands of small debris objects.

    "It's like a chain reaction. More pieces of debris mean more potential collisions.

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    "It now thought there are 100 trillion pieces in Earth's orbit.

    "There are fears that the debris could make large parts of Earth's unusable.

    "This is as predicted by one of my most favourite movies WALL-E.

    "Humans have to escape Earth because it is too polluted. In escaping they have to crash through a sea of satellites.''

    The professor said humans are polluting space just as they have Earth's oceans – and a clean-up was needed.

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    Though she said efforts have been made to clear it up' – including using a giant litter picker' – the problem requires international collaboration'.

    Scientists like me are calling for a legally-binding treaty to help protect the Earth's orbit,'' she said.

    We need to not make the same mistakes we have with the oceans.

    "We do need to act."

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