Listen to Article
Thanks to the consecutive issues with falling Space debris and the recent near miss by NASA scientists, removing Space junk is rapidly becoming a top priority for scientists all over the world. There are currently a number of possible solutions in the works, ranging from a Space vacuum cleaner to a custom-built Janitor satellite.
However, all of these have the potential of making things worse if they don't work, by either adding to the junk or worse still, falling back to earth. Now NASA scientists have come up with another solution - Shooting up bursts of air from the Earth's atmosphere directly at the Space junk floating around the Earth's lowest orbit and either changing its path so they are less dangerous or better still, slow them down so that they get dislodged from orbit and fall back to Earth - where they will hopefully get burnt up when re- entering the atmosphere.
While the concept, which has been called SpaDE (Space Debris Elimination) sounds viable and safe, scientists are still trying to figure out how they are going to create enough atmospheric pressure to dislodge the heavier debris. Among the ideas being considered is building a balloon platform or even, blowing air up with the help of an high-altitude plane.
The biggest advantage to something like this working, is that scientists will be able pinpoint the exact debris they want removed from orbit. The biggest disadvantage? The cost! Not only in terms of the 500 gallons of fuel for every air burst that experts estimate it will take, but also, in terms of the pollution caused by burning so much fuel Hopefully, they will be able to find other solutions that are equally effective, but not as costly!