The collision of a dilapidated Russian spacecraft and a satellite owned by U.S.-based company Iridium over Siberia last week resulted in a huge uptick in the amount of cosmic debris. [See this post for more on space junk & an excellent video.]

Most of the debris remains around the crash site 500 miles above earth. Apparently this is the most popular orbit in near-Earth space used by Earth-tracking and communications satellites.

The cosmic outer loop of our beltway now has thousands of fragments littered about all with the potential for damaging or destroying satellites.

Now who’s going to clean that mess up?