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Yes, there really is a lot of space junk

This visualization shows the 15,723 objects being tracked in low-Earth orbit by the U.S. military's Joint Space Operations Center — including nearly 13,000 that are classified as space debris.

Data: Space-Track; Note: Perigee is the point in an object's orbit where it's closest to Earth. Chart: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Why it matters: As space opens up to more nations, companies and possibly nonprofits, concerns are growing about how to track the growing amount of debris. This week, Vice President Mike Pence announced a "comprehensive space traffic management policy" to address the issue.