Space Junk's Threat

Dan Gillmor is a BoingBoing guest-blogger.

We're heading into scary territory with space garbage. The AP reports on Space station's close call with junk: More to come:

The near-hit of space junk Thursday was a warning shot fired across the bow of the international space station, experts said.

There's likely more to come in the future. With less than an hour's notice, the three astronauts were told they'd have to seek shelter in a Russian capsule parked at the space station in case a speeding piece of space junk hit Thursday.

If it hit and they were in the main part of the station, they'd have only 10 minutes of safety, Mission Control told them. A hole in the space station could mean loss of air, loss of pressure and eventual loss of life.

What freaks out people who believe we need to get off this planet — for exploration and ultimately survival of our species –is this possibility: If enough of these things collide with each other and then create more junk, the planet could be eventually surrounded by a ring of debris that makes any space travel impossible.

The big Space Cleanup needs to start, pronto. But how?