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Junk consisting of broken satellites and the like is becoming a hazard to new satellites. This idea provides a way of cleaning up an orbit ready for use by a new satellite.
A giant ball of specially-formulated blu-tac is launched into orbit at the required height.
The junk in the orbit is slowly mopped
up as it collides with the blu-tac and sticks to it.
Once the orbit is clear of junk, the blu-tac can be collected and recycled.
50 lb ball of silly putty dropped from parking garage
with spectacularly unexpected shattering goodness. [baconbrain, Jan 02 2011]
[RayfordSteele, Jan 02 2011]
||Silly putty would shatter under high-velocity impacts, Shirley. [+]
||[-] for lack of gratuitous and irresponsible deployment of directed energy weapons.
||I think the main problem would be how to deploy it. If you shot it up in a rocket, or railgun capsule, or space elevator car, or whatever, that's fine. Then you have a large lump of blu-tac, up there, inside of a container or capsule. My question is this: how do you get it out? I think it will stick to the inside.
||// how do you get it out? //
||I think the Blu-tac would freeze solid, rendering it less than useful. We should research liquid nitrogen-based glues. Then when the heat of re-entry melts the glue away, all the accumulated junk will separate and burn up in the atmosphere.