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Earth Space Science Technology

9 Ideas For Coping With Space Junk 149

An anonymous reader writes "The space age has filled Earth's orbit with all manner of space junk, from spent rocket stages to frozen bags of astronaut urine, and the problem keeps getting worse. NASA's orbital debris experts estimate that there are currently about 19,000 pieces of space junk that are larger than 10 centimeters, and about 500,000 slightly smaller objects. Researchers and space companies are plotting ways to clean up the mess, and a new photo gallery from Discover Magazine highlights some of the proposals. They range from the cool & doable, like equipping every satellite with a high-tech kite tail for deployment once the satellite is defunct, to the cool & unlikely, like lasers in space."
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9 Ideas For Coping With Space Junk

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  • by reverendbeer ( 1496637 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @02:38PM (#33428196)
    Just send up a guy with a jet pack and a baseball bat...let reentry take care of the rest.
  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @02:53PM (#33428412) lasers in space.

    The main obstacles being shark deployment and survivability.

  • by badboy_tw2002 ( 524611 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @03:03PM (#33428538)

    Hi there! Your post advocates a

    ( ) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

    approach to fighting space junk. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

    ( ) Junkers can easily use it to create more space junk
    ( ) Space stations and other legitimate space uses would be affected
    ( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
    ( ) It is defenseless against brute force space dumps
    ( ) It will stop space junk for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
    ( ) Users of space will not put up with it
    ( ) NASA will not put up with it
    ( ) The space police will not put up with it
    ( ) Requires too much cooperation from space junkers
    ( ) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
    ( ) Many space users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
    ( ) Space junkers don't care about other junk in their junk
    ( ) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

    Specifically, your plan fails to account for

    ( ) Laws expressly prohibiting it
    ( ) Lack of centrally controlling authority for space
    ( ) Launches in foreign countries
    ( ) Difficulty of searching for tiny junk in all of space
    ( ) Asshats
    ( ) Jurisdictional problems
    ( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
    ( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
    ( ) Huge existing investment in space
    ( ) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
    ( ) Eternal arms race involved in all space junk collection policies
    ( ) Extreme profitability of space junk
    ( ) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
    ( ) Technically illiterate politicians
    ( ) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with space junkers
    ( ) Dishonesty on the part of space junkers themselves
    ( ) Fuel costs that are unaffected by space junk
    ( ) Outlook

    and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

    ( ) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever
    been shown practical
    ( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
    ( ) We should be able to talk about space Viagra without being censored
    ( ) Countermeasures should not involve missles
    ( ) Countermeasures should not involve more junk
    ( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
    ( ) Sending things to space should be free
    ( ) Why should we have to trust you and your space garbage company?
    ( ) Incompatiblity with space licenses
    ( ) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
    ( ) I don't want the government cleaning up space
    ( ) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

    Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

    ( ) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
    ( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
    ( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your
    house down!

  • by UninformedCoward ( 1738488 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @03:06PM (#33428576)

    Nuke it from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.


  • Re:Hmm (Score:2, Funny)

    by grub ( 11606 ) <> on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @03:18PM (#33428706) Homepage Journal
    They should just move the Earth from the encircling space junk.
  • by GodfatherofSoul ( 174979 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @03:22PM (#33428744)

    The same reason you don't carry your car to work to save gas money.

  • by oldmac31310 ( 1845668 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @03:42PM (#33429002) Homepage
    I expect the frozen bags of urine would be a top selling item. Great idea!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @04:34PM (#33429602)

    Aw, I wanted to see the paint chip which could kill "669 725 earthlings" (roughly the population of San Francisco) in one go.

    (Hint to all: GP was probably joking)

  • by slick7 ( 1703596 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @05:07PM (#33429952)

    This is the solution: []

    Two words...Fly paper.

  • by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @05:19PM (#33430102)

    I'd say the shipping costs would be quite low, actually. Fast delivery times too. You could place your order, grab a baseball glove, head out to the back yard, and receive your package 5 minutes later.

  • by physburn ( 1095481 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @07:27PM (#33431200) Homepage Journal
    Nice idea, But the sharks would suffocate in space.
  • by IICV ( 652597 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @11:21PM (#33432294)

    ( ) Dishonesty on the part of space junkers themselves
    ( ) Fuel costs that are unaffected by space junk
    ( ) Powerpoint ...

    There, fixed that for you. I'm certain that bad Powerpoint presentations will still be creating tons of space debris after we're all dead.

  • by mariospants ( 1891072 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @11:42PM (#33432394)
    Cybernetic space sharks would easily take care of the problem of keeping the burgeoning space whale population under control. As we all know, the space whales keep orbital junk under control... wait, I think I'm getting ahead of myself here...

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