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Space Junk 3D
Now Playing - general audience
After 50 years of launching our dreams into space, we're left with a troubling legacy: a growing ring of orbiting debris that casts a shadow over the future of space exploration. Space Junk is a visually explosive, sensory expanding voyage into our now-threatened Final Frontier.
Experience mindboggling collisions, both natural and manmade. Soar from the stunning depths of Meteor Crater to an unprecedented view of our increasingly crowded orbits - 22,000 miles above Earth. Join us as the "Father of Space Junk" guides us through the challenges we face in protecting them, forging a new age of space discovery.
The 2008 Disney-Pixar blockbuster WALL-E is a comical and suprisingly sweet tale of a small trash-gathering robot accidentally abandoned on earth. Although this animated film is seemingly innocent, it gives an extremely accurate picture of some of the dangers in our future.
In WALL-E, the earth is surrounded by a dense field of orbiting junk. This is actually a very real issue—it is estimated that Lower Earth Orbit contains more than 6,000 tons of satellites and debris, and less than 20 percent is actually operational!
Although the spaceships in the movie have no issue plowing through the sattelites and debris, this act is extremely dangerous. In orbit, these objects are moving at approximately 4.5 miles per second, which means even a tiny item can do serious damage if a spaceship collides with it. A space shuttle once wound up with a half-inch dent in one of its sturdy windows because of a collision with a paint chip one-eighth of an inch across!
You can learn all about this problem at the Orlando Science Center in Space Junk 3D, now showing daily in the newly renovated Digital Adventure Theatre! Experience mind-boggling collisions and soar to the stunning depths of Meteor Crater for an unprecedented view of our increasingly crowded orbits, all with our state-of-the-art 4K digital projection and 7.1 surround sound! This is a fully submersive experience that is sure to please.
Orbital debris, better known as space junk, is the collection of human-made objects in orbit around Earth that no longer serve a purpose. These objects consist of everything from spent rocket stages and defunct satellites to erosion, explosion and collision fragments.
With tons of space debris orbiting low Earth, it is becoming an expensive task for the military to track and eliminate the debris.
Recently, a new study revealed increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the upper atmosphere is allowing satellites and other debris to stay in orbit longer, making it even more difficult to clean up space.
With 29 space-monitoring sensors at their command, the Space Surveillance Network can only track about 30,000 of the more than 500,000 pieces of debris. That’s only 6 percent!
In order to combat these problems of tracking and eliminating space clutter, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) -funded SpaceView project is asking for help from amateur astronomers worldwide.
DARPA hopes to organize the astronomy community into an extension of the U.S. Air Force’s own sky-watchers and track more pieces.
With the ever-growing issue of “space junk” circulating Earth’s vicinity, the United States Air Force is looking to rebuild a fence around the earth. While it may seem straight out of a Hollywood film, the increasing pile of debris left behind from rockets and satellite parts zooming around the earth’s orbit at thousands of miles per hour is a very serious concern.
Currently, the military is tracking about 20,000 pieces of “space junk,” or orbital debris, ranging from the size of a softball to the size of a bus! All debris, regardless of size, are a danger to manned space flights such as the International Space Station and unmanned operations such as the hundreds of satellites that bring us television, run GPS and carry cellular service.