Re: What are we going to do about all the space junk?

Anders Sandberg (
21 Apr 1999 21:34:54 +0200

Anders Sandberg <> writes:

> Spike Jones <> writes:
> > > Any ideas?
> >
> > Many, just not necessarily practical ones.
> My favorite is to send up a big sponge (i.e. a ball of soft material)
> and let the debris crash into it. Maybe not perfect for the large
> chunks (but they are easily tracked) but good for swabbing up the fast
> and dangerous small fragments. Problem: space is big.

An idea that came up due to some email discussions: have a big sail, built from nano- or micro-machines. Let debris rip through it, making some easily repairable holes and leaving some of the machines on the debris. When they are removed from the sail, they start digesting the debris and converting it into a small, inert sail. Using some simple navigation (make an angle of X degrees with light of this spectrum) they either drift away from orbit, or merge with the sail which can digest them.

OK, now I have invoked nano-magic. Shame on me. :-)

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y