Real-life 'Gravity' disaster possible, warn experts

Sandra Bullock in 'Gravity'. (HO)

Sandra Bullock in 'Gravity'. (HO)

WENN.com

, Last Updated: 7:43 AM ET

Space experts have appealed to the U.S. House of Representatives to grant new powers to help prevent space debris smashing into satellites and creating a real life disaster like the one seen in the movie Gravity.

Testifying at a hearing called ‘Space Traffic Management: How to Prevent a Real Life Gravity' experts warned that space activities, including human travel and the operation of satellites, will become more and more dangerous if new rules to control debris are not put in place.

The Federal Aviation Administration called for additional authority over commercial satellite operators, which includes the call for the authority to order evasive actions to avoid a collision.

No American agency currently holds such an authority, and it remains unclear what agency could do so with a global remit.

The experts gave an outline of space as an unclear frontier where more than 60 countries, multiple companies and "a multitude" of educational and non-profit organizations operate satellites with no worldwide oversight.

Lt.-Gen. John W. Raymond, commander of the Pentagon's joint functional component command for space, said, "As the barriers to access space are lowered, the number of actors is expected to increase, and our ability to carry out our missions will become progressively more difficult."

Calls for closer monitoring and managing of space debris have been driven by two events in the last ten years - China's destruction of one of its own satellites in 2007 which created thousands of pieces of debris, and the collision of a private American satellite with a defunct Russian satellite in 2009, known as the Iridium-Kosmos collision, which created more space debris than anything before, despite calculations that they would not collide.


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