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

Anders Sandberg (
22 Apr 1999 20:03:48 +0200

Spike Jones <> writes:

> Anders Sandberg wrote: 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.
> Anders this is the coolest thing I have seen in a long time. Did you
> think of it? spike

Well, yes. I'm not sure I was first, as Gina pointed out Drexler might have thought about it too. And likely several others.

I arrived at this idea due to my sf/roleplaying interest (again): I was originally thinking some years back (around 91 or so) about space-living creatures, and the concept of living solar sails came up. Since then I have occasionally developed the idea a bit further.

Of course, building the above stuff is likely tricky. But a fun exercise in smart materials and distributed control.

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