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December 6, 2019 09:30 pm

European Plan To Tackle Space Debris? Hug it Out

The European Space Agency is working to tackle the issue of space debris with the technological version of a big hug. From a report: It hopes to be able to use tentacle-like mechanical arms to embrace a dead satellite and remove it from orbit. Other options considered include casting a net over the object, using a single robotic arm or firing a harpoon. At Esa's ministerial council last month, the agency allocated $450 million to space safety programmes, some of which will go towards a mission aimed at removing defunct satellites from orbit. The head of Esa's space debris office, Holger Krag, said work on developing the mission would start now with the aim of designing something that could be used again. "The goal is to make these removal actions happen more frequently, and therefore they need to be cheap," he said. "The technology that we will most likely use now is actually consisting of some sort of arms, like tentacles, that embrace the object because you can capture the object before you touch it."

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