An astronaut on the space place presently looked out the window and saw this -

An astronaut on the space place presently looked out the window and saw this

Of all the things you don't want to see while orbit Earth in a pressure-sealed habitat similar to the International Space Station, the view in the picture above probably tops the list.
This quarter-inch (7-mm) width chip in one of the windows of the Cupola - that little nook where astronauts get all their cool pictures - was photographed by British astronaut Tim Peake this week next to an inky backdrop of space. And holy crap, we'd be freaking out right now.
"I am often ask if the International Space Station is strike by space debris. Yes - this is the chip in one of our Cupola windows, glad it is quadruple glazed!" said Peake in a European Space Agency (ESA) let go.
The high-quality news is that the chip isn't a big deal, and it's not that unusual. It was the majority likely caused by the impact of a tiny piece of space debris, "maybe a paint flake or small metal fragment no better than a few thousandths of a millimetre across," writes the ESA.
It's crazy to think that such tiny, insignificant substance can do this much damage, but with the ISS continually falling towards Earth at a mind-boggling 7.66 km/s (4.7 mps), even tiny flecks of paint can have a large impact.
Luckily the space station is intended to handle these types of small scrapes and nicks, with every its windows made from fused-silica and borosilicate-glass, and extensive shielding about all the crew and technical areas.
But if the ISS got hit by anything larger, it could be in big trouble, as the ESA notes:
    "An object up to 1 cm in size could stop an instrument or a critical flight system on a satellite. Anything above 1 cm could penetrate the shields of the Station’s crew modules, and anything bigger than ten cm could shatter a satellite or spacecraft into pieces."
Umm... Gravity, anyone?
To answer this risk, NASA and the ESA are constantly civilizing their debris-mitigation guidelines. Part of that involves monitoring space junk above 1 cm in size so that they can forecast the risk of impact and steer the ISS our of harm's way if need be.

But they're as well trying to cut down on space junk in the first place, and the ESA has complete it mandatory for all of their work parts to reenter the atmosphere and burn up within 25 years after they're retired.
An astronaut on the space place presently looked out the window and saw this

That's a huge plan, but with all this space junk out there previously, a back-up definitely doesn't go astray... some-times it's easy to forget how scary space can be.

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