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Space Debris Needs to be Removed: ESA

Apr 26, 2013 08:25 AM EDT

Space debris needs to be cleared from the Earth's orbit, concluded an international conference on space debris. Experts also agreed that space missions need to be more sustainable, which includes the safe disposal of spacecraft parts.

The space debris poses a significant risk to orbital regions in space that are important both for scientific studies and economic purposes.  

There are about 30,000 items in space that are larger than 10cm or nearly 4 inches in size, BBC reported.

"There is a wide and strong expert consensus on the pressing need to act now to begin debris removal activities," says Heiner Klinkrad, Head of Europe Space Agency's Space Debris Office. "Our understanding of the growing space debris problem can be compared with our understanding of the need to address Earth's changing climate some 20 years ago."

The findings of the 6th European Conference on Space Debris were released during the concluding press briefing at ESA's European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

The cost of replacing damaged satellites is expected to be around €100 billion. Losing these satellites could lead to significant damage to the current society.

"While measures against further debris creation and actively deorbiting defunct satellites are technically demanding and potentially costly, there is no alternative to protect space as a valuable resource for our critical satellite infrastructure," Klinkrad added.

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