Note: Article edited to reflect it's SWITZERLAND that's responsible for the project, not Sweden. After skimming the article I thought Sweden and wrote Swedes, NOT because I thought Swedes come from Switzerland. Derder, Switzers come from Switzerland.
The Swiss, best known for hot chocolate mix and utility knives, plan to launch a series of "janitor" satellites into orbit to clean up some of the space junk left behind from humanity's short-sightedness. *kicking beer cans off coffee table* "You do know you're gonna have to pick those up later, right?" Am I?
The proliferation of debris orbiting the Earth - primarily jettisoned rocket and satellite components - is an increasingly pressing problem for spacecraft, and it can generate huge costs. To combat this scourge, the Swiss Space Center at EPFL is announcing today the launch of CleanSpace One, a project to develop and build the first installment of a family of satellites specially designed to clean up space debris.
Based on the graphic, it looks like each janitor satellite is basically on a suicide mission. They just grab a piece of space-junk, then throw themselves into the atmosphere to burn up. But what about those 16,000 smaller pieces? You know what we need to collect those? Magnets. Do magnets work in space? SPOILER: Yes. Consider this your science lesson for the day. "I can see your penis." Ha, that's your anatomy lesson. "And the rash?" *bell ringing* Welcome to health class!
Hit the jump for another conceptualization of the satellite that looks suspiciously like something you'd see a roadie pushing around backstage and a video about the project.
Thanks to Pesche, who agrees we should probably call Superman and get his rates before committing to this whole janitor satellite thing.