Friday, August 06, 2010

Cleaning up space junk with balloons

Here is an interesting article that I came across on the Dvice blog. Balloons could be used to help clean up orbital space junk.

According to the article, the balloon based device is called G.O.L.D. for Gossamer Orbit Lowering Device and is the brain child of Dr. Kristen Gates.

From the article:
  • "GOLD" — is sent up to orbit in a box no larger than a suitcase, and then it's fastened to a piece of space junk, (which then) inflates .... (lowering whatever it is attached to) into the atmosphere, where the piece of debris will burn up. The balloon's size amplifies the amount of drag acting on the space junk already, which slowly decays an object's orbit. The added plus is that a GOLD is very inexpensive to manufacture.

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