Space debris – efforts to clean up space

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The European Space Agency (ESA) is part of an international effort to monitor and – ultimately – tackle space debris. This junk – accumulated in orbit since the dawn of the space age sixty years ago – poses an increasing risk to operational spacecraft.

ESA is developing missions to tackle the problem to help prevent a serious collision in space. The Agency is also monitoring possible dangers caused by fragments of redundant spacecraft falling to Earth, such as China’s space station Tiangong-1 – due to enter the atmosphere in the coming months.

Visit our Clean Space site to learn more: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Engineering_Technology/Clean_Space

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13 Comments

  1. What you really need a cheap disposable engine capable of de-orbiting debris, or a large ship capable to moving into multiple orbits and inclinations so as to capture a large number of debris, then attach a disposable engine to de-orbit. It's a difficult problem, as the large ship is the most efficient way to do it, and have the largest effect, but fuel is the problem.

  2. What not get a super powerful Laser and vaporise small debris. I actually got the Idea for this one when the other week I was looking at my Ophthalmic records and when I thought about how my retinae were ablated with a laser I then thought, "why not just do that to the space crap?"

  3. it's a good start, we just need more people and all the space companies to collaborate and to focus on this problem!

    It would be better if a big satellite was built on low earth orbit.

    This Satelite would be solar powered, be used as a hub to pursue junk and it would be able to be restocked.

    From there other smaller and cheaper probes could be sent to track debris and slow it down with a sail. If the probes are small and cheap enough you could send many of them up on a single launch.

    Thank you for your efforts but no one will agree to destroy an expensive satellite for the sake of some junk or some catastrophe they think will never happen.

  4. easiest way to clean up the mess is slow the debris down, so they start falling toward earth. I think, a tank of air released, shot in one direction, (ex Clockwise) will create drag and stop the particles going ( ex. counterclockwise) and they will slowly be recaptured by earths atmosphere. No need for complex technology, simple (air drag "net")
    (the gas inside the tank should be dense and with very low liquid state temperature , ex Nitrogen / Argon etc)

  5. Space debris gives me anxiety, just knowing that our satellites have to constantly dodge random stuff. I wish there was a way we could just clean our entire orbit in just 1 big sweep, and then just have uniformed satellites (basically Elon's Starlink program).

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