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Space & Astronomy

Space junk poses clean-up challenge

August 13, 2011 | Comment icon 18 comments



Image Credit: NASA
The amount of debris in orbit is posing an ever greater risk to spacecraft and the environment.
Some scientists believe that the increase in space junk is going to pose a substantial problem before the century is out, with vehicles designed to actively remove the debris being considered to help clear Earth's orbit of unwanted materials.
The space junk trend no longer can be reversed by full compliance with mitigation measures now in place; it will get worse without more-aggressive action such as active debris removal, or ADR. And that just might pose the biggest engineering challenge of the 21st century, according to J. -C. Liou of the Orbital Debris Program Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center.


Source: Space.com | Comments (18)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #9 Posted by Habitat 11 years ago
that would probably have some kind of effect on the magnetic poles of the earth lol.....you mean my compass would be no good any more ?
Comment icon #10 Posted by Habitat 11 years ago
I'd suggest orbiting lasers that vapourize the offending objects.
Comment icon #11 Posted by bulveye 11 years ago
Over time will the gravity of Earth not just pull all the junk back to Earth? If yes will it take a few years or thousands of years you think?
Comment icon #12 Posted by Taut 11 years ago
Over time will the gravity of Earth not just pull all the junk back to Earth? If yes will it take a few years or thousands of years you think? Good thought, maybe it'll all just eventually burn up in the atmosphere. I wonder how long too. Where are the astrophysicists when you need them?
Comment icon #13 Posted by StoneSmasher 11 years ago
Over time will the gravity of Earth not just pull all the junk back to Earth? If yes will it take a few years or thousands of years you think? Yes it will come down, but not as fast as we add junk.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Phox 11 years ago
Funny thing, I just thought of something. We have enough waste up in space that could recycled and reused. Damn I wish scientists could build bug like nano-bots that would break down the material in orbit and use the material to build or repair an craft in space. It would make it heck of a lot easier to clean up space junk and recycle it for better use.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Karlis 11 years ago
Space Junk Problem Reaches 'Tipping Point' Earth is now surrounded by so much space junk that a leading expert on the issue has declared that we are at a "tipping point" -- it may soon become too dangerous to venture into low-Earth orbit (LEO) through fear of having a manned spaceship punctured or a communications satellite trashed. Ex-NASA scientist Donald Kessler led a National Research Council study into the orbital situation, and the outlook is grim. In Thursday's announcement on the study's findings, the amount of orbital rubbish "has reached a tipping point, with enough currently in orbi... [More]
Comment icon #16 Posted by psychoticmike 11 years ago
i have an idea, use giant vacuum cleaners with big vacuum tunnels on the back that suck the debris into the exhaust and incinerate it or suck it inside the craft and send it out into deep space or the sun.
Comment icon #17 Posted by Habitat 11 years ago
i have an idea, use giant vacuum cleaners with big vacuum tunnels on the back that suck the debris into the exhaust and incinerate it or suck it inside the craft and send it out into deep space or the sun. hahahehehahaha....I am far from knowledgeable about such matters, however, last time I checked, space was a vacuum. Sorry, I think your idea sucks. Bottom line is, if there was an easy or even a feasible solution, it would have been put into practice. We humans seem to leave a mess wherever we go.
Comment icon #18 Posted by psychoticmike 11 years ago
hahahehehahaha....I am far from knowledgeable about such matters, however, last time I checked, space was a vacuum. Sorry, I think your idea sucks. Bottom line is, if there was an easy or even a feasible solution, it would have been put into practice. We humans seem to leave a mess wherever we go. LOL i guess you didn't pick up on the joke as for this "if there was an easy or even a feasible solution, it would have been put into practice." i don't agree with that people overlook things all the time, i think the best idea just hasn't been thought up yet. it is definitely a hard task tho, and i ... [More]


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