How Much Junk Orbits Around the Earth?

February 23, 2009



You might not realize it, but there’s a lot of junk that orbits around the Earth. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) tracks anything in orbit that’s bigger than a softball and then disseminates that information in the form of an orbit descriptor called a Two Line Element (TLE). Matthew Kozak visualizes this data on an interactive 3D globe. It’s implemented in Processing, and maybe best of all, the source code is available.

[Thanks, @Dan]