The Soviet Union launched the very first earth-orbiting satellite in 1957, and the world looked on in awe as Sputnik flashed through the sky. Fifty years later, you’d be lucky to see anything. The U.S. Space Surveillance Network says there are almost 20,000 man-made objects in orbit, ninety-four percent of which are non-functional debris. And that’s not counting the hundreds of thousands of bits of junk too small to track. Little wonder the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has put out a call for someone – anyone – to come up with a way to effectively remove orbital debris.
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