Could the kinetic energy of space junk be recycled?

  • #1
First time poster here, and I need some experts to weigh in on a debate that I'm having on the Skeptics Guide to the Universe forum, here (https://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,51110.0/topicseen.html ). In my opinion, a few of the other posters are being pessimistic.

Given recent advances in areas like materials engineering and the apparent direction that astronautics is heading, am I wrong to be optimistic about our ability to recycle the potential energy of space debris, natural and man made, as well as the debris itself? Some of that debris is relatively large, but even the small pieces are moving with tremendous kinetic energy.

It seems like an awful waste to have spent so much time and capital to get that stuff up to speed, only to eventually decide to let it all burn up in the atmosphere.

Is it at least worth researching? I'm assuming this is a hypothetical idea at best, but I hate the thought of throwing out any hypothesis without at least testing it for plausibility.

BTW, all of this occurred to me after listening to a report on the hypothetical Halo Drive (https://www.space.com/halo-drive-black-holes-galaxy-travel.html), which would harness the kinetic energy of laser or particle beams. Incorporating the kinetic energy of objects already in orbit, as I'm suggesting, is simply a vastly scaled down version of that.
 

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