February 16, 2012 16:53 by Bran
You may not realize it, but after decades of space exploration, humans have left quite a bit of junk out there. And as the garbage continues to collect, our communications and information networks become more and more threatened.
But yesterday, scientists at the Swiss Space Center unveiled a plan to clean up the mess we've made surrounding our planet. According to CNET News, it involves sending an $11 million "janitor satellite" to space to grab leftover satellite and rocket components with a robotic arm and tossing it back toward Earth, "where both would burn up on reentry."
However, that means each time the CleanSpace One captures a piece of rubbish, it will be destroyed. Therefore, the pace at which we clear out the "floating junkyard" will be relatively slow.
Researchers will continue fine-tuning the idea until CleanSpace One is launched in three to five years.