On 3rd of October I was invited to create a live installation for the Space is Ace at Doomed gallery.
Alfonso Cuarón's trailer for his upcoming movie, Gravity, made a big impression on me when I saw it on IMAX, so I started reading about space debris, and the possibilities of an imminent Kessler Syndrome.
Most people seem to think human waste is just a planet-wide problem, but the reality is that Earth's orbit has become increasingly polluted since the 50's. There is so much debris out there that a Kessler event could render space travel impossible from Earth, meaning we wouldn't be able to escape our planet if we need to, let alone space exploration.
The main focus of the piece is the 2007 destruction of the Fengyun FY1C satellite by the Chinese, which created almost 2,841 high-velocity debris items, a larger amount of dangerous space junk than any other space mission in history.
The position of each of these debris items is available from NASA's iSAT project. I'm using Bill Shupp's sgp4's java library to calculate the position of each debris item at every time step.