Foam ‘spider webs’ from tiny satellites

could help clean up space junk

NASA’S SPACE JUNK BROOM SWEEPS UP DEBRIE

NASA’S SPACE JUNK BROOM

A little foam-spewing spacecraft could make a big dent in the space-junk problem in the coming years.

The Russian startup StartRocket is developing a “Foam Debris Catcher,” a small, autonomous satellite that would snag and de-orbit space debris using sticky polymer foam.

“It’s like a spider web,” StartRocket founder Vlad Sitnikov told Space.com.

NASA’S SPACE JUNK BROOM

Earth orbit is cluttered with about 129 million pieces of debris, 34,000 of which are at least 4 inches (10 centimeters) wide, according to European Space Agency estimates.

These objects are hurtling through space at tremendous speeds — 17,500 mph (28,200 km/h) in low-Earth orbit.

So even the tiny shards could seriously damage a satellite or spacecraft.

And the space-junk threat is rising, experts say, because…….


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