Cleaning Up Space Trash

by Ben Cohen

According to the Scientific American, there are roughly 15,000 pieces of space junk (mostly leftover rocket boosters) flying around the earth’s orbit that military monitors are tracking. It now looks like the problem is so bad, we’re looking for a way to clean it up:

With thousands of pieces of tracked debris and countless smaller chunks

posing a hazard that operational satellites and even manned missions

sometimes have to dodge, it is only a matter of time before somebody—be

it a lone government agency or a consortium of the concerned—takes

charge of the cleanup.

Such a space-based “Superfund” effort may now be in the works: The U.S. military’s Defense

Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) posted a notice last week

soliciting ideas on how to shrink the growing debris cloud in Earth

orbit
. The solicitation is merely a first step that promises no

funding or commitment from the government, but several contractors have

shown interest in contributing to a solution.

(photo by Fred Seghetti)

Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.