The Space Roomba

The clean way is the right way.

FlashForward, a podcast presented by Rose Eveleth, invited Andrew and Tiago from Clean Space to discuss technology developments for reducing the amount of debris in space in the episode ‘The Space Roomba’. This episode features a variety of international experts speaking in depth about the challenges of space debris, and we highly recommend you listen to it.

Courtesy of Flash Forward

The podcast covers most aspects of space debris, from an historical point of view to technological and scientific perspectives, moving through the political, legislative and strategic issues raised.

Most relevant questions about space junk are raised and answered such as

  • ‘why is there debris in space?’,
  • ‘why do we even care about this junk? Space is immense!’,
  • ‘how can we now clean space up?’
  • ‘should we consider this junk as archaeology?’

Featured in the episode, Clean Space’s Andrew Wolahan explains how to catch an uncooperative object in space, presenting the particular solutions envisaged by ESA. However, removing individual items of debris is clearly not sufficient to clean up space as Tiago Soares goes on to highlight in this episode.

The clean solution exists however. We need to design new satellites so that they will avoid the creation of space debris in future and prepare them to be more easily removable in case of failure in orbit… And introduce this while removing the bigger and more risky debris items already up there. Listen for yourself to ESA’s fascinating and exciting future plans.

Both Andrew and Tiago are part of Clean Space, an ESA initiative to make space sustainable for the future by safeguarding the environment on Earth and in space.

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