Have we ever lost things in space?

2023 © Wikiask
Main topic: Science
Other topics: Space
Short answer:

Yes. There are several objects lost in space.

  • Nine hundred thousand metal objects from various launches and satellites.
  • Human waste from International Space Station.
  • Eighteen precious human lives have been lost in space so far.
  • The five currently operational interstellar probes from NASA will be lost in deep space in the near future.

Any object is considered lost in space when we lose its possession, control, or trajectory.

Orbital debris are majority of lost items[edit]

Orbital debris is any item humans create in earth's orbit that is no longer in use, or salvaging it is impossible. This wreckage consists of spacecraft remains, used launch vehicles, decommissioned satellites, and fragments of other metal objects used in the launch process.

There are around 900,000 pieces of orbital debris. Worldwide Space Surveillance Network (SSN) sensors of the Department of Defense monitors about twenty-seven thousand bits of space junk.[1]

Lost objects from international space station[edit]

Several objects were lost in space due to disposal, accident or error involving astronauts. These objects include urine disposal, gloves, on-body camera, toolbox, pliers, spatula, ammonia tank, etc.[2]

18 lives lost in space[edit]

Life is much more valuable than objects. A total of 18 astronauts have lost their lives in space. Two of the most significant space accidents involved NASA space shuttles.[3]

Interstellar objects to be lost in future[edit]

NASA has launched fiver interstellar probes till date. [4] Voyager 1 is the farthest from the earth at about twenty-four billion kilometers. While these probes are still operational, they are bound to become dysfunctional and lost in deep space. Voyager 1 is expected to leave our solar system entirely in the next twenty thousand years.[5]

Voyager 1's view of Solar System (artist's impression)
Voyager 1's view of Solar System (artist's impression) CC BY: Wikimedia


  1. "Space debris", Wikipedia, 2022-09-22, retrieved 2022-10-09
  2. Moskowitz, Clara. "Lost in Space: 8 Weird Pieces of Space Junk". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2022-10-09.
  3. Expert, Space (2022-05-11). "Gone with the space: astronauts lost in space forever". Orbital Today. Retrieved 2022-10-09.
  4. "Interstellar probe", Wikipedia, 2022-09-20, retrieved 2022-10-09
  5. published, Meghan Bartels (2021-02-23). "Scientists' predictions for the long-term future of the Voyager Golden Records will blow your mind". Space.com. Retrieved 2022-10-09.