For some reason, this strikes me as being neat: A robot spacecraft, CleanSpace One, is being developed to suck in all of those satellite parts and other debris that are orbiting the earth, posing hazards to working spacecraft and generally getting in the way.
Before CleanSpace One is ready for space, there are technological hurdles to overcome. One being the machine’s ability to come within range of an object in space, to be close enough to capture it. Another hurdle is developing robotic arms that can “grab” the item. After being captured, the debris will be taken by the robot spacecraft back into the Earth’s atmosphere, where both will disintegrate upon re-entry.
It’ll cost about $11 million to get CleanSpace One into orbit, but its creators, a team of astronauts and professors at the Swiss École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, think that rising spacecraft insurance premiums will encourage aerospace companies to kick in.
I’d vacuum more often if I had one of these.