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The crash of two satellites has generated an estimated tens of thousands of pieces of space junk that could circle Earth and threaten other satellites for the next 10,000 years, space experts said Friday.
"The US army and NASA have radars that can track satellites and the biggest debris, measuring more than 10 centimetres (four inches) across," he told AFP.
Before the collision, there were around 12,000 orbiting objects of this size.
Before the latest incident, there were over 300,000 orbital objects measuring between 1 and 10 centimetres (0.4 and four inches) in diameter and "billions" of smaller pieces, a watchdog group called the Space Security Index said last year.
The rubbish includes micro-particles and massive fuel tanks, drifting derelict satellites, pieces from satellites or final-stage launchers that have either disintegrated in the hostile environment of space, or exploded because of residual fuel.