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A dead Soviet satellite and a discarded Chinese rocket body have a 1-in-10 chance of colliding in space on Thursday
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A dead Soviet satellite and a discarded Chinese rocket body have a 1-in-10 chance of colliding in space on Thursday

If they collide, the satellites would explode into a cloud of dangerous, high-speed debris — augmenting a space-junk problem that's getting worse.

Science & Tech

A dead Soviet satellite and a discarded Chinese rocket body have a 10% chance of colliding Thursday night, according to satellite-tracking company LeoLabs.

It's impossible to intervene to prevent a collision, since both objects are dead and can't be maneuvered.

Satellite collisions can produce huge clouds of dangerous, high-speed space debris, which can threaten other spacecraft in Earth's orbit.

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Close approaches like this are becoming more common as companies like SpaceX and OneWeb launch fleets of internet satellites.

A dead Soviet satellite and a discarded Chinese rocket body are speeding toward each other in space and could crash catastrophically on Thursday.

LeoLabs, a company that uses radar to track satellites and debris in space, said on Tuesday night that it was monitoring a "very high-risk" conjunction — an intersection in the two objects' orbits around Earth. A series of observations since Friday have shown that the two large pieces of space junk could miss each other by just 12 meters (39 feet).