Our planet’s ambiance step by step slows down satellites in orbit and brings them again right down to Earth. This course of could be comparatively quick for satellites flying at low altitudes, taking lower than 25 years, however for satellites launched into orbits tens of hundreds of kilometres away, it may be hundreds of years earlier than they return, if the ambiance is ready to affect them in any respect.
Had the dinosaurs launched a satellite tv for pc into the furthest geostationary orbit, it will nonetheless be up there immediately.
Which means as we launch satellites to area we should take into account how they are going to be eliminated on the finish of their lives, or else the skies shall be stuffed with previous, defunct spacecraft vulnerable to collision, explosion, and the near-certain creation of huge quantities of space debris.
On this infographic from ESA and UNOOSA, learn how lengthy it will take satellites at completely different altitudes to naturally fall again to Earth, and what should be achieved responsibly get rid of them on the finish of their lives.
Discover out extra in Episode two of the corresponding ESA-UN podcast, “Falling to Earth takes a long time”.