1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Nasa offers reward for trash removal

  1. Apr 9, 2007 #1
    Hello, i saw a reward posted for the solution of the problem of space trash by Nasa.

    There are thousands of small objects in space that are discarded rocket parts, pieces of satelittes and general junk up there.
    It is orbiting the earth at high speeds and Nasa cant solve this problem (yet)

    i read that they have had some ideas that were either too much of a long shot or just not doable in praksis such as heating the object with lasers from the ground til they evaporate etc.

    I have a few ideas that may or may not be stupid, i do not know the answer because i dont know what technologies Nasa has available.

    These ideas may be garbage if they dont have the tech, or if it would be too costly, so please come with ideas of your own.
    After all.... if we solve this it would be awsome for the forum, and whoevers idea they think is worth the effort.

    Idea 1: Small maintenance robots. If we could build small robots (size of a football) and remote control them from earth we could launch maintenance satelittes that control their assigned area for scrap objects. They would run on electricity and a propellant of choice and be able to refuel and reload at the sattelite.

    this would be the permanent solution. with tech advancement it would be made automatic and run by computers. BUT.. it would probably be outside any one space agency's budget so international co-operation would be needed.
    maybe divide up the sky in sectors and divide the responsibility around.

    Idea 2: Small rockets. this would be a temporary solution. i do not have the tech knowledge at all to think if this could work but it seems like a possible scenario.
    Picture a piece of material that is hard and light, it has the shape and size of a card. This would be the front of the missile. Aero dynamics dont aply to space so it should have no influence over the amount of fuel needed to reach the same speeds as the object its tracking.
    The missile is small, the tip hard. how many would fit on a run of the mill launch?

    The thing about this scenario is that the missiles are so small that it would not require its own launch rocket. they could take as many as they could fit on the missions already going to space.

    ps. i didnt know where to put this thread.
    There are so many to choose from, physics, theory, math, astrology and space dynamics etc.
    so please dont delete if i posted it in the wrong forum.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 9, 2007 #2
    Errrrrrr.........I'll let someone else comment, or delete this thread. You're ideas dont sound very realistic to me, sorry. :frown:
  4. Apr 10, 2007 #3
    Could you be a little more specific?.
    what isnt realistic?

    is it too expensive or not the required tech?
  5. Apr 10, 2007 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

  6. Apr 10, 2007 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    HA HA HA!!! There's a blast from the past. Thanks Janus!
  7. Apr 10, 2007 #6


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    How in the world do you pronouce "Cyb"? Who would name their daughter Cyb?
  8. Apr 10, 2007 #7


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    It's short for Cybil, as in Shepard... pronounced 'sib'.
  9. Apr 10, 2007 #8
    i think the small rocket idea would just make more space garbage since not all would hit, and youd be putting more stuff up there.

    how bout giant space nets?
  10. Apr 11, 2007 #9
    the missiles arent explosive, they are more like "bilijard balls" their purpose is to impact with the trash and either push it out into space or into the atmosphere. both are good.

    Space nets: how big are we talking?, what propells them, how do they work etc.
  11. Apr 11, 2007 #10

    D H

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Regarding the robots: How do the they get rid of trash? How do they even know where it is? Automated rendezvous with even a cooperative target remains a very challenging problem. The trash is a very non-cooperative target.

    Regarding the rockets: Do you realize how much energy must be imparted to "push an object into space" or into the atmosphere? How do you keep your rockets from adding to the space trash problem?
  12. Apr 11, 2007 #11
    hmmm, there is much i havent thought off...
    i went from the assumtion that nasa had a map over their locations and velocities.
    if so then the calculations should be possible.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook