Wanted: Garbage collectors in space

Scientists say we should clean up the cosmos now to avoid crashes in the future

By Stephen Ornes, 16:22 PM September 21, 2011


Space Debris



Every messy kid gets told to clean up his or her room. City governments send out trucks and crews to clean up roads and parks. Now, scientists say if we want to keep our astronauts and satellites safe, it’s time to clean up space, and soon.


A sprawling garbage heap floats high above Earth. It contains fragments of broken-down satellites and pieces of used rockets, as well as a few unusual objects like gloves and cameras accidentally dropped by astronauts. The problem isn’t going away; it’s...

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