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Space debris ‘could cause catastrophic tipping point’ for humanity as 75% of objects in orbit are ‘junk’, UN warns


Satellites are designed to make our lives easier and safer but they could also have the opposite effect.

THE United Nations has released a report listing six catastrophic "tipping points" that could be disastrous for Earth and humanity.

It explains how each tipping point could stop humanity from functioning as we expect.

The report states: "A risk tipping point is reached when the systems that we rely on for our lives and societies cannot buffer risks and stop functioning like we expect it to."

One of the six tipping points described was the risk of space debris.

Around 75 percent of the objects in Earth's orbit are said to be "junk".

If this space debris crashes into important satellites, society could be negatively impacted.

The report explains: "Given that these objects travel over 25,000 kilometres per hour, even the smallest debris can cause significant damage.

"Each piece of debris becomes an obstacle in the orbital "highway", making it increasingly difficult for functional satellites to avoid collisions."

Satellites are important for numerous reasons.

They help us to communicate and also provide vital weather information.

Satellites can also act as early disaster warning systems.

They're designed to make our lives easier and safer and now play a critical role in society.

One major issue is that satellites themselves can become space debris when they're no longer in use.

The UN noted that technological advancements mean more satellites are being sent into space.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has sent over 4,000 into space so far and has plans for thousands more.

The UN also believes there are 130 million pieces of debris around Earth that are too small to be tracked.