Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Space Superfund?

A new study suggests a fund similar to the U. S. Superfund designed to finance the cleanup of polluted sites be established to deal with the problem of space junk. The study calls for the generators of space junk, both nation-state and private concern, to contribute to such a fund, and for nation-states to acknowledge junk in orbit is a problem and to commit to limiting the amount of such junk, or debris, in the future.

Further, the study calls for the development of technologies that will allow the removal of debris from Earth orbit, and, importantly, the testing of such technologies in space. It notes that during the Gulf of Mexico oil spill last summer, for example, technologies to shut off the spill were present before the accident, but they hadn't been tested in that specific situation, and too many of them didn't work. Testing various approaches in space, therefore, is crucial to developing a suite of technologies that would actually work on the full range of different kinds of junk in orbit.

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