Image: European Space Agency
Blog Editor’s Note: Good thing it was just a close call. Though we learned in aviation safety class that catastrophic accidents are almost always preceded by close calls. And as you can see from the article, there have been a number of those already.
Worst case scenarios include a Kessler Syndrome event where collisions with debris make more debris which cause more collisions (see the opening of the movie “Gravity”). This causes a blanket of rapidly moving debris at Low Earth Orbit that essentially traps humanity on the planet. it would even be difficult to make astronomical observations or replenish satellites like GPS that are at Medium Earth Orbit.
We do talk about Armageddon-like scenarios sometimes in this blog. Unless people think about such things, it will be pretty hard to avoid them.