Elon Musk Intends to Use Starship Rocket to Clean Up Space Junk

22nd Jul 2021
Starship SN6 1

Elon Musk plans to ‘chomp up’ space debris using his Starship vessels. The vessels are a crucial part of his plans for the Mars mission. He intends to send humans to the planet on the spacecraft. But, they could also play a vital role in cleaning up the junk.

According to experts, Earth’s orbit is littered with lots of debris from past missions, posing a threat.

Data from the ESA (European Space Agency) outlines the extent of the issue. There are a lot of objects circling the Earth. Some large ones measure more than 10cm n diameter while almost 900,000 are between 1 and 10 cm.

As many agencies and private companies keep launching satellites to orbit, there’s a growing need for debris removal. The risk of collision between these satellites and the debris increases with each launch.

The Importance of Space Debris Removal

If a collision occurs in orbit, it could trigger a chain reaction. Many more objects could collide with each other, which increases the danger. This is referred to as the Kessler Syndrome and would hinder further exploration.

Elon Musk sees the Starship vessel as a solution to prevent the Kessler Syndrome from becoming a reality. He outlined the plan after getting a question about space debris removal on Twitter.

The plan is to launch the rocket to orbit, where it will ‘chomp up’ the junk with its moving fairing door. This is part of Musk’s greater vision for humankind to colonize the solar system. He can clean up space junk through the Starship vessel while planning to send 1 million people to Mars by 2050.

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