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Kessler syndrome by 2050?
The Kessler syndrome is a situation where a major satellite collision causes an increase in space junk, causing a cascading effect destroying many if not most other satellites.
We are currently losing about one satellite per year due to collisions with space junk, yet these collisions are far too small to cause a runaway effect. Furthermore, action has been taken by the Federal Communications Commission to reduce the chance of this happening and regulations in the U.S. require all satellites launched after March 18, 2002 to be disposed of by controlled atmospheric reentry or a boost into a graveyard orbit after shutdown.
It is asked:
By 2050 will we have had a one year period in which we will have lost at least 10% of our operational satellites due to collisions with space junk?
Metaculus help: Predicting
Predictions are the heart of Metaculus. Predicting is how you contribute to the wisdom of the crowd, and how you earn points and build up your personal Metaculus track record.
The basics of predicting are very simple: move the slider to best match the likelihood of the outcome, and click predict. You can predict as often as you want, and you're encouraged to change your mind when new information becomes available. With tachyons you'll even be able to go back in time and backdate your prediction to maximize your points.
The displayed score is split into current points and total points. Current points show how much your prediction is worth now, whereas total points show the combined worth of all of your predictions over the lifetime of the question. The scoring details are available on the FAQ.
Note: this question resolved before its original close time. All of your predictions came after the resolution, so you did not gain (or lose) any points for it.
Note: this question resolved before its original close time. You earned points up until the question resolution, but not afterwards.
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Metaculus help: Community Stats
Use the community stats to get a better sense of the community consensus (or lack thereof) for this question. Sometimes people have wildly different ideas about the likely outcomes, and sometimes people are in close agreement. There are even times when the community seems very certain of uncertainty, like when everyone agrees that event is only 50% likely to happen.
When you make a prediction, check the community stats to see where you land. If your prediction is an outlier, might there be something you're overlooking that others have seen? Or do you have special insight that others are lacking? Either way, it might be a good idea to join the discussion in the comments.