NASA is preparing contingency plans in case a large piece of orbital debris is deemed a threat to the International Space Station. The chunk of space junk measures about 19 square meters, large enough to do significant harm to the ISS in the event of a collision. As a precaution, NASA mission controllers are preparing a plan that would see the ISS fire its booster rockets in order to escape the path of the debris, which is circling the earth in an elliptical orbit.
NASA currently estimates that the space junk will come within 3 kilometers of the ISS on Friday morning. The agency did not state the origin of the debris, but the Earth is encircled by countless particles of refuse from spent satellites, industrial waste, dust, and other sources. The ISS is equipped with shielding that offers some protection from space junk.
Information Week USA