Junk satellites can pose risks to other objects in Earth’s orbit. Startups are testing out ways to tidy up, from magnets to robotic tentacles.
Could the solution to eliminating dangerous space junk be a mini-fridge-sized spacecraft equipped with a big magnet, or maybe an orbiting tug that sends out a swarm of tentacles to trap a spent rocket?
If all goes well, schemes like these may be the first steps in removing the growing constellation of metallic refuse orbiting Earth. There are at least 23,000 pieces of discarded payloads, rocket bodies, and other debris greater than 10 centimeters long circling the planet, according to NASA estimates, with another 500,000 smaller
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