As space junk soars, science turns to nature for ideas
Over 1300 circle above our heads, providing navigation signals, studying the planet and broadcasting television to millions of people.
Few communications go directly through the space networks, but otherwise almost three dozen atomic clocks that offer reliable time stamps exactly anyone with an antenna, the financial and cellular service markets will collapse quickly.
It does not take much to reduce these finely tuned machines to the remains of thousands of pounds. Life expectancies that rarely exceed a decade, the wonders of engineering are surprisingly available. And as newcomers and ancient relics include useful orbits near Earth, governments and researchers are looking for ways to restore the infinite promise, once in space.
A mixture of proposals is to reduce the speed of the laser-depleted spacecraft on the basis that they fall on one end of the fire, and shoot them directly with elite hits, nets and obstacles. So far, however, no one is looking for the checkbook.
“Everyone recognizes that this is a problem, and the problem is getting worse, but it’s not clear exactly what cleaning works,” says Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) robotic researcher Aaron Parness.
Now a collaboration between the JPL Group Dr. Parness and Stanford’s engineering team suggests that this artificial problem may have a solution inspired by nature: gecko-like pads rather sticky to grab objects in the water wave of space.
Everything that goes up has to go down, unless it travels more than 25,000 miles per hour. Among the objects that make up the orbit, the air resistance will eventually lesser the majority, but some roads may prevent others from being shed for decades.
The Ministry of Defense catalogs tens of thousands of man-made objects around the Earth, but also small fragments that could follow a series of millions of people. One of these hyper-velocity missiles could cause impact damage from exploding chops.
A major goal is the International Space Station, which is usually the size of particle shots of less than a millimeter and actively affects larger pieces several times a year.