What goes up must come down: Study looks at risk of orbital debris casualties

Looking at this as a risk analyst, I must note that we have many more deaths on the ground from airplane crashes, and vastly more from automobile crashes. So, this is nothing new.

That doesn't mean that we should just ignore the risk of space junk crashing to Earth. But, we do need to maintain some perspective.

For instance, I would not consider it criminal "manslaughter" if somebody is killed by space debris. But, I do think there should be some civil liability - and there currently is - but to the government of the country that launched the item. Is that the right place to put the liability?

And, what about the space junk that is created when one satellite hits another satellite, unintentionally or even intentionally - as in the "test" destructions of satellites by several countries. If a piece of the "target" satellite eventually kills somebody on the ground, should it be the responsibility of the nation (or company) that launched the satellite in the first place, or the nation that targeted it and turned it into space debris?

It may even be hard to tell what a piece of space debris was initially a part of.

I am thinking this could be a whole new way for some lawyers to get rich.

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