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

Doug Jones (
Sun, 25 Apr 1999 21:05:05 -0700

Using small active solar sails to recover mass driver pellets in solar orbit was described in _The Helix and the Sword_ by John C McLoughlin, around 1983. Excellent novel of genetic engineering in the distant future, without a singularity of course.

Anders Sandberg wrote:
> 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

Doug Jones, Rocket Plumber
Rotary Rocket Company