This interactive map shows everything floating in Earth's orbit

Everything larger than a softball, anyway

This interactive map shows everything in Earth s orbit

There's a lot of rubbish whizzing around Earth. Ever since Sputnik was launched in 1957, we've been polluting our cosmic neighborhood with increasing amounts of space junk.

But getting a handle on exactly how much is up there is a tricky task. So 18-year-old programmer James Yoder has built a three-dimensional, interactive map of everything currently whizzing around our planet. It's called stuffin.space.

The data comes from Space Track - a US government site that monitors everything in orbit larger than a softball (minus spy satellites). That adds up to 150,000 objects, which can be sorted and grouped to your liking. It was built in WebGL.

Real-time

"Using those orbital parameters, stuffin.space uses a propagation model to predict the location of every satellite in real time, with an accuracy of within a few kilometers, and displays the data using a WebGL visualisation with an accurate view of the Earth's rotation and sunlight angle," Yoder told Gizmodo in an email.

While space junk is an increasing problem, there are many ideas on how to deal with it - including space nets, laser brooms and orbital janitors.

Article continues below