Supported by

The Atlantic Selects

The Threat of Objects Lost in Space

Oct 12, 2017 | 831 videos
Video by Cath Le Couteur

100 million pieces of “space junk” currently orbit our planet at 17,500 miles per hour. Adrift investigates the fate of these interstellar objects, which threaten to collide with and destroy satellites and spacecraft.

Director and producer Cath Le Couteur recruited Sally Potter to narrate the film from the perspective of the oldest piece of space junk, a solar-powered satellite lost in 1958. Adrift also features interviews with astronomers and scientists, such as NASA astronaut Piers Sellers, who dropped a spatula in space during a repair mission in 2006.

“Space junk,” says Le Couteur, “has become an intriguing but potentially serious and destructive museum of space exploration hurtling above our heads.”

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to

Author: Emily Buder

About This Series

A showcase of cinematic short documentary films, curated by The Atlantic.