Humans are polluting outer space and this video shows how much

Some call outer space the last frontier, and apparently that is true not just for exploration but also for bad garbage management. If you thought that the garbage problem here on earth or in the water are bad, just wait until you see how bad things are way, way up there. A video as well as an interactive website tries to visualize the amount of space junk we've left orbiting the earth, junk that will come to bite us in the posterior in the near future of space travel and tourism.

Stuart Grey, a scientist and lecturer at the University College London visualized what the thousands of debris orbiting around Earth would look like if we could see each and every one of them. At least the ones that we are able to keep track of. The history all starts in 1957 when the Russians launched the Sputnik satellite. Since then, the amount of debris floating around in space might astound you.

NASA currently tracks 20,000 such pieces, mostly from used rocket parts, non-functional satellites, and other objects that are measured to be larger than a softball. It also tracks objects the size of a marble (but smaller than a softball) and has counted about 500,000 such things in space. And then there are millions of other objects that are just too small to monitor.

The video above is both mesmerizing and frightening. It might just be a few dots on your screen but each pf those dots can make or break any space launch or mission. Sometimes they can even mean life or death. Space agencies need to ensure clear space when launching rockets. Even something as large as the International Space Station needs to steer itself away from those debris. And that's just for the pieces that we can keep track of.

Various endeavors have been proposed to clear up this growing mess before things quickly get out of hand, even before we can lay claim to outer space aa our next conquest. Ideas like the EPFL's "Pac-Man" satellite that will gobble up space trash like the iconic video game character. SpaceX's as well as Blue Orbit's reusable rockets can go a long way in reducing the amount of leftover rocket parts littering around the earth.

VIA: Mashable