Thousands of satellites and other debris. Currently orbit Earth. They provide us with television internet and communications.But what if all these satellites, suddenly went offline. And then came crashing down to earth. Space debris problem
What would a crashing satellite do to the earth ?
This is what if, and here’s what would happen if every satellite fell to Earth. Currently, there are over 5000 satellites in orbit. That number is expected to at least double by the year, 2025.
And that doesn’t include all of the 12,000 satellites that SpaceX is starlink programme plans to launch by 2027.
So, nearly 20,000 satellites in space by the end of the decade.
What would happen if they all came crashing down ?
Well, first we need to understand that satellites, and other debris in space falling to Earth is nothing new. Over 100 tonnes of space debris heads toward Earth, every year. You don’t notice any of it because it all gets burned up in our atmosphere, before it can hit the ground.
But that’s only a few chunks of satellites coming in our direction. If 20,000 satellites came heading for Earth, you definitely notice it. Space debris problem.
You wouldn’t see any football field sized spaceships crashing down to earth, at least not yet. Instead, you’d immediately notice that you couldn’t contact anyone phone lines would be down, and this video will immediately shut off since the internet would stop working as well.
But one of the most dangerous effects of our satellites falling to Earth would be GPS systems shutting down planes in the sky wouldn’t be able to navigate the air traffic control. And with up to 12,000 planes up in the sky at any given moment. That would make the chance of crashing into each other, greater than ever global economies, grind to a halt would be cut off from the rest of the world, credit cards and any other forms of electronic payment would be useless.
Don’t expect to get any cash from an ATM or a bank as those wouldn’t work either. It would be like going back in time to the 1800s. In theory, we eventually be able to replace all those things without using satellites and bounce back from this mass but although satellites are still headed for Earth. If 20,000 satellites were falling to Earth. They wouldn’t happen instantly. That’s because the satellites speed and positions in space, could make some of them take longer.
How many satellites would come falling down ?
If a satellite was 1000 kilometres above the Earth’s atmosphere. It might take over 100 years before it finally fell to the ground. So, all these satellites going to Earth would be a long drawn out process. And luckily for us when they do finally fall on Earth. A lot of them will get burned up by our atmosphere. But that still doesn’t mean we’d be completely safe. Sure, the pieces would be smaller than a satellite but they wouldn’t completely disintegrate. Usually, before a satellite back down to earth we have some sort of control over it.
Scientists will use the satellites last bit of fuel to guide it towards somewhere in the ocean, or an unpopulated desert. But if 20,000 satellites filters. They’d go wherever they believe. Many of them would dive into the oceans since they make up 71% of our burden surface. Space debris problem.
Lots of these satellites would end up on land, destroying entire buildings and towns as they’d be travelling at speeds of up to 28,000 kilometres per hour. Even if small chunks of satellites managed to hit the ground. Their shock waves could cause considerable damage with the kinetic energy of all these satellites hitting the Earth would be like dropping nuclear bombs.
And another similarity the satellites have with nuclear bombs.
Many of them would be radioactive. Lots of satellites are nuclear powered and there’s a chance that when they come crashing down to earth. Radioactive, causing even more harm to the planet, after they hit it. After decades when all the satellites finally came crashing down. Earth would look like it has been hit by thousands of nukes. Luckily, the chances of something like this happening, are incredibly low. The only real possibility of it happening would be if Earth were hit by a solar storm. And if that were to happen. Falling satellites would be the least of our worries, but that sounds like a story for another.