European Space Agency to launch ‘space claw’ to clean up junk orbiting Earth
Scientists came up with an out of this world idea to clean up nearly 1 million pieces of the space debris that orbits the earth.
The European Space Agency will send a suicide robot “Space Claw” to rid the atmosphere of cosmic debris by detecting defunct satellites and directing them back into the earth’s atmosphere, where they would ignite and safely burn, according to CNET.
There are an estimated 3,000 dead satellites and 900,000 small pieces of debris orbiting the planet. This could cause disaster if they collide with thousands of living satellites orbiting the globe.
ESA will sign a contract with the Swiss startup ClearSpace to launch its first removal mission called ClearSpace-1.
The Claw’s first target is a 250-pound Vega secondary payload adapter – also known as a VESPA – that has orbited Earth for seven years after helping launch a missile.
The one-off mission is slated to begin in 2025 and is expected to cost well over $ 100 million – making its long-term value questionable.
ClearSpace hopes that the expensive project will be the beginning of a sustained effort to clean up space debris that needs to be continued and developed along with the increasing use of satellites.