Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Orbiting space tug with magnet

Time to clean up the junk in low orbit
  (+1, -3)
(+1, -3)
  [vote for,

It's time to roll up the sleeves boys and girls, gonna have to put all the fun and games away for awhile. We should be shooting up a tug boat into low orbit, rockets on the stern, a big u-shaped magnet on the bow. Start picking up all the garbage, somebody's got to do it. Reminds me of Mt. Everest, the worlds highest trash dump.


ty6, Aug 24 2002

Try this one, po http://www.nyu.edu/...sprimack040102.html
The article is actually talking about the space debris left by a future space war, not what's up there already. [DrCurry, Aug 24 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

The human factor will be more attractive for funding Near_20Earth_20Orbi...ation_20Corporation
[normzone, Sep 05 2006]


       Aren't space stations and satellites made of metal, too?
calum, Aug 24 2002

       Calum: Yes. And the debris is largely non-ferrous alloys (because they're lighter) so a magnet won't work on them. A net would be better.   

       Croissant for the idea, fishbone for lack of research = neutral vote.
8th of 7, Aug 24 2002

       I believe there are items as small as a fleck of paint that cause damage. need a fine net.
po, Aug 24 2002

       The concern for a chain reaction. If all that stuff starts crashing and bashing ad infinitum, forget about sending anything through it for a while. [see link]
ty6, Aug 24 2002

       Did somebody say *Satellite*?
thumbwax, Aug 24 2002

       Zero chance eh? Well, what's in a comment anyway. The formulas get updated continously, calculating the odds. No impact on our lives? Out of sight, out of mind then, it's a good thing we can't see all the stuff that we breathe in every day, or another considerable effort would have to be made to try and clear the atmosphere, wait, isn't that being done?   

ty6, Aug 25 2002

       Of course there is no such animal as "Zero Probability" in science, but there is such a thing as "as low as any reasonably informed person might expect". There is no field of human endeavor that is risk-free. Benefits and risk must be calculated and weighed against each other. Of course this includes getting up every morning and going to work. Your chances of a heart attack from traffic stress and smog inhalation or a plain old-fasioned car wreck are considerably greater than those of space junk rain, and will remain so for some time to come, I'd be willing to wager.
panamax, Aug 25 2002

       Actually the funniest version of this that I've heard of was proposed in all seriousness: a giant inflatable satellite. The idea was that debris would hit it and the orbit of said debris would degrade causing it to burn up on atmosphere. Presumably retro rockets would allow you to boost the giant space jumping castle to different orbits. As an added bonus, companies could have their logo painted on to increase product appeal to the nerdy telescope types.
madradish, Aug 26 2002

€ Groupo Campari €

thumbwax, Aug 26 2002

       the military currently is developing anti missle systems using a "Laser." using this "Laser" from space (say only a short range "Laser" to not scare the rest of the world) on a small unmanned ship that flies around looking for junk, we could turn the space debris into space dust. it would also be an excellent way to test out "Laser" targeting methods in space. ---------now who wants to be the space mechanic sent up to fix the "Laser" when it malfunctions and starts shooting randomly? any vollunteers???
junkmail, Dec 21 2002

       I'd do it!!!!   

       Weee swiss cheese!
Veritas, Feb 10 2003

       In the ben bova book "sam gunn, unlimited" they launched a giant electromagnet to push the trash around. The theory that it worked on was that as the object orbited through the ionesphere it picked up a negative charge, so just hit it with another negative charge from an angle would deflect it into the atmosphere. I tried to figure out Maxwell's theorom (one of them) to figure out the newtonian force needed and amount of energy required. Alas, I lack the skills.
hypergiaphobia, Sep 05 2006


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