Satellites Raining Nonstop Out Of The Sky

By Christopher Isaac | Published

space debris

When it comes to trying to reverse the impact of climate change, we typically look to what is going on here on Earth. That includes implementing policies requiring people to utilize less single-use plastics.

Trying to mitigate the damage of pollution from vehicle emissions. Banning the use of certain chemicals known to be harmful to the ozone. But now scientists are saying we also need to pay attention to climate change based on issues beyond the Earth.

Namely, all of the satellites that have been launched into space.

Launching Satellites


Many people enjoy watching space programs launch their latest projects into the sky. With the majority of space still unexplored, each venture beyond the Earth feels like it has the potential for new discoveries. But the reality is satellites wind up failing all the time.

And it never really makes the news what actually happens with all of these expeditions once they are no longer viable for further research. You might assume that there is some protocol to retrieve them and bring them back to Earth.

However, in actuality, a ton of satellites are simply abandoned to burn up in our atmosphere, which scientists fear is doing long-term harm to the Earth’s climate.

Burning Into Atmosphere

SpaceX satellites satellites

It certainly makes sense, as leaving all of those tons of metal to burn up into ash and become mixed into our atmosphere is pretty far from the natural state of our planet.

And yet, Elon Musk’s SpaceX recently announced that they plan to “de-orbit” 100 of their satellites in the next six months due to a design flaw that poses a risk of them not operating properly.

SpaceX And Others

spacex starship

In this case, “de-orbit” simply means letting them get burned away in space. That is almost a satellite every two days that will be burning up into our atmosphere, and that is just from SpaceX alone.

There are plenty of other companies with their own satellites also floating around out there that will one day be “de-orbited”.

Starlink Satellites


To paint a clearer picture of exactly how crowded it is getting in our Earth’s atmosphere, another company, Starlink, currently has over 5,000 satellites in orbit.

After those satellites either cease to be of use or simply fail, they will need to go somewhere.

Currently, it looks most likely that they and every other company’s satellites could be left to burn up and potentially contaminate our Earth with all kinds of particles and chemicals.

Removing From Orbit


Our current laws and policies acknowledge that the Earth’s atmosphere cannot continue to just crowd up with satellites indefinitely, so companies are given 25 years to remove them from orbit.

That means either letting them burn up or pushing them out even further into space to become some other planet’s problem. Either method comes with long-term ramifications, but it is unclear how severe.

Ozone Change Because Of Satellites

earth dying

Right now, scientists only theorize that these satellites burning up could be causing ozone damage.

There is not enough current evidence to state that it is definitive, however, some fear that waiting until we get to that point could leave the Earth in very bad shape if these concerns are proven true.

But for the time being, there are thousands of satellites currently orbiting the Earth, and every day their remnants are raining down upon us.