US

20,000 pieces of space debris are floating around earth -- here's what that looks like

When rockets or satellites are launched into space, the entire thing doesn’t usually end up there. On the way, parts are either jettisoned or they simply fall off.

According to NASA, about 500,000 such pieces of space debris are currently orbiting earth. This animation shows the 20,000 of pieces that are larger than a softball.

Story by Jacob Shamsian and editing by Stephen Parkhurst

Follow INSIDER on Facebook

Follow INSIDER on YouTube

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.