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[Patent] Boeing Plans To Use Gas Clouds To Tackle Space Debris

Space debris orbiting around Earth has considerably increased in amount ever since we started sending off space missions. Most of the machinery used in these missions is left to lurk in the space, joining the Earth’s orbit and contributing to the debris ‘pollution’ in the space. Now, Boeing has come up with a rather unique idea to resolve this problem.


Space debris

The need to tackle the space debris orbiting Earth is imminent. If it is not tackled, scientists hold that within the next few decades, it would become hard for space shuttles to navigate through Earth’s orbit without running into a piece of this debris.

Boeing has now filed a patent which speaks of an extra-ordinary idea of tackling this debris. The company has proposed that the pieces of debris should be hit with a puff of gas. This would, in turn, propel these pieces of debris towards Earth’s atmosphere where the sheer force of friction would destroy them.

Ever since human started space missions, thousands of satellites have been sent into space. And most of them, after having being used for the purpose they were built for, are left in the space without any post-use disposal plans. Today, thousands of these ‘dead’ satellites can be found within Earth’s orbit and they pose a very real danger to any future space expeditions.

In the past, scientists have come up with a number of ideas to remove this debris from Earth’s orbit. However, the idea that has been proposed by Boeing is a lot simpler. It comprises of sending a satellite with a gas tank into the space, the gas it contains being an inert cryogenic gas. The gas would then be used to hit a particular piece of junk and send it into Earth’s atmosphere where it would self-destruct. While so far, this remains confined only to theory, one hopes that such a plan would soon be applied to tackle the problem of space debris.

Source: USPTO

Courtesy: Gizmag

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