It won’t be long now. In just a few short months, the long-standing debate—space harpoon versus giant butterfly net—will finally be settled by a good old-fashioned space trash collection contest. We’ve got ourselves a barn-burner here, folks.
Surrey Space Centre announced that their space trash collection mission, RemoveDEBRIS, is now set to launch by early next year. There are already plenty of technologies in the works to clean up the more than 7,000 tons of trash that orbit the Earth, posing a collision hazard to both satellites and spacecraft. But the RemoveDEBRIS mission is the first time that a selection of those methods will get a test in space to see just how they stack up against each other in the contest to scoop up the most trash.