First simulation of those two satellites smashing into each other: space mess ensues

What happens when two satellites collide? When we first heard about a defunct Russian nuclear satellite and a still-active U.S. Iridium satellite slamming into each other 500 miles over Siberia, it was hard to visualize, but now software company AGI makes the consequences all too clear. What a mess!

The collision of the two birds, with their combined weight of about 3,200 lb, created hundreds of shards of debris. Add that to the existing 17,000 pieces of space junk already floating around out there, and there's a chance of more mayhem, and perhaps a chain reaction of collisions involving even more spacecraft.

Gallery images and video courtesy of Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI)

AGI, via Astroengine