WATCH: The Stuff We've Left In Space : The Two-WayScientists keep track of nearly 20,000 pieces of space debris, from the size of an apple to that of a school bus. A visualization from the Royal Institution lets you watch the orbiting trash pile up.
And today? According to the Royal Institution in London, there are about 20,000 pieces of tracked space debris, ranging from larger than an apple to as big as a school bus. (There are far more objects smaller than that, including millions of pieces of debris too tiny to track, according to NASA.)
Stuart Grey of University College London created a visualization showing how those larger pieces of junk proliferated over time — and how single events, like a Chinese test launch in 2007 or the collision of two satellites in 2009, could create thousands of pieces of space trash.