A satellite designed to get rid of space junk


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/04/10/a-satellite-designed-to-get-ri.html


Yes, and one for the Oceans floating junk might be a good idea too.


For the cost of designing / developing / producing / launching / maintaining / managing / controlling said satellite one could buy a few fancy boats to clean the mess here on Earth.


Note: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch “Estimates of size range from 700,000 square kilometres (270,000 sq mi) (about the size of Texas) to more than 15,000,000 square kilometres (5,800,000 sq mi) (about the size of Russia).”


The old problem of externalities. One satellite may take down a hunk of trash or two, but how do you take down a half million? A very expensive project; who will pay? As @Akimbo_NOT points out, we can’t even clean things up that are accessible by rowboat.

EDIT: Forget that; we’re in trouble:


Our first United Galaxy Sanitation Patrol Cruiser!


Mexico? /s


A harpoon? Are they sure? Wouldn’t breaking bits off the objects make things worse instead of better?


I like the aerogel based capture cubesats, myself. Kind of bulky but super lightweight.


Tom Swift Jr. is all over this.


Time to revive the canine space program - just send up a team of golden retrievers and all that space junk will be cleaned up before you can say “fetch.”


You know. For your space junk.


Didn’t we already do this?


I propose something more like those slime octopus things that roll down windows, except bigger, and it rolls around space sticking to all the debris which is over maybe 35% more efficient, also you get to see a big grimy jelly octopus rolling all over the firmament at night but be careful! important for space pods etc. to fly around it



But who’s gonna clean up the golden retrievers?


Easy, toss a bit of space junk into the Pacific and they will follow it down.


Harpoons in space?



I imagine some sort of solar concentrator or solar powered laser (a.k.a. death ray) could be useful, placed at a higher altitude and targeting junk it passes. Smallest junk might be vaporized but most stuff would be heated enough to volatize a jet of material, destabilizing their orbits (even for spinning junk).


Click though. This live animation of everything in orbit right now is pretty mind-blowing. Devo were right to warn us about space junk. http://stuffin.space/


Sorry, they are tapped out paying for Trump’s psychiatric treatment.