An anonymous reader writes "Robert X. Cringely once again educates and amuses with his take on how we could clean up the garbage that's in orbit around Earth. I cannot vouch for his math, but it makes sense to me. Quoting: 'We’d start in a high orbit, above the space junk, because we could trade that altitude for speed as needed, simply by flying lower, trading potential energy for kinetic. Dragging the net behind a little unmanned spacecraft, my idea would be to go past each piece of junk in such a way that it not only lodges permanently in the net, but that doing so adds kinetic energy (hitting at shallow angles to essentially tack like a sailboat off the debris). But wait, there’s more! You not only have to try to get energy from each encounter, it helps if — like in a game of billiards or pool — each encounter results in an effective ricochet sending the net in the proper trajectory for its next encounter. Rinse and repeat 18,000 times.'"
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