April 18th, 2013
10:14 PM ET

Space harpoon plan to nail orbital garbage

By Dave Gilbert, CNN

What do you do with 6,000 tons of space junk traveling at thousands of miles an hour? Harpoon it of course.

It might sound like a scenario straight off the pages of a science fiction novel but it is a suggested solution to an increasing and potentially costly problem in space - that of debris littering low earth orbit.

The harpoon plan is one of a range of options being discussed by scientists at a forum in Germany next week, and aimed at finding a way of tackling space debris that threatens commercial operations.

Engineer Jaime Reed, who is leading the harpoon project for the space technology company Astrium, explains that if a rogue satellite hits another, not only does it ruin the mission but it creates more debris and propagates the problem. This run-away scenario is often called the Kessler Syndrome, named after NASA's Don Kessler who first highlighted the risk.


Post by:
Filed under: In Space
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. helenecha

    Find a way to gather them up and then place it in low earth orbit making people see that our Earth wins a prize a piece of brooch designed by the friends of its own.

    April 22, 2013 at 3:37 am |
    • Elroy Jetson

      That made no sense. Are you on drugs?

      April 29, 2013 at 8:36 am |


  • Elizabeth Landau
  • Sophia Dengo
    Senior Designer