We may not know if our good friend E.T. is real, but there is one thing we’re sure is flying around the galaxy: space junk, hundreds of millions of pieces of it.
In an effort to raise awareness about all of this potentially dangerous debris, documentary filmmaker Cath Le Couteur and musician Nick Ryan created “Adrift,” an interactive art project that gives us earthlings the opportunity to adopt one of three pieces of space junk. The best part? Every time it passes overhead, the piece of debris sends you a tweet – some are bone-chilling.
The scary part is that most space junk measures between 1 and 10 centimeters, though there are nearly 30,000 objects larger than that. They may be small, but these things are fierce. A paint chip or metal fragment just “a few thousandths of a millimeter across” is the suspect of a 7 millimeter crack in the Cupola’s window at the International Space Station, according to a report from the European Space Agency. The tiniest of flakes could do a great deal of damage when traveling at thousands of miles per hour.
Those interested in learning more about space junk could adopt the SuitSat, A Russian spacesuit full of trash that was ejected from the International Space Station in 2006, the Chinese weather satellite known as Fengyun, which was blown to pieces during a weapons test in 2007, or the Vanguard I, the first U.S. solar-powered satellite and oldest object still that’s still in orbit (it was launched in 1958).