Well, this seems to be quite far-flung from our point of view. Let's consider something more realistic. We shot up loads of tech into space. This now-junk could be recycled to biuld up something new. This junk travels around at highspeed, but anyway, a space vehicle orbiting our plante would do this, too. All it would need is a sort of "tractor beam" (hey, yet *another* Sci-Fi technology) to haul all the junk in. This might seem way off our tech level, but as most of this junk is magnetic, you could use some kind of magnetic force to 1. catch it and 2. haul it onboard at non-lethal speed. You wouldn't want to pull in debis at >4.000 km/h. This could be more realistic than the nanosail discussed before.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: email@example.com
> [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]On Behalf Of Doug Jones
> Sent: Monday, April 26, 1999 6:05 AM
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: Re: What are we going to do about all the space junk?
> 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
> > > Anders Sandberg wrote: An idea that came up due to some email
> > > 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!
> > email@example.com http://www.nada.kth.se/~asa/
> > 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