A defunct Russian satellite and a spent Chinese rocket just floating around high over Earth could smash into each other within a few days, potentially creating a big mess in orbit with potentially dire long-term consequences.
LeoLabs, which tracks space debris, put out the alert on Tuesday warning that the two large hunks of junk will come within 25 meters of each other and have up to a twenty percent chance of colliding Thursday evening.
That’s considered way too close for comfort by space standards. The two objects have a combined mass of 2,800 kilograms and if they were to smash into each other, the “conjunction” could create thousands of new pieces of space junk that would put actual functioning satellites at risk.
Astronomer Jonathan McDowell, who keeps a close eye on objects in orbit, identified the old crafts