Joseph Hidalgo/The Aerospace Corporation

Superthin spacecraft aims to clean up space garbage

From lasers to space harpoons to robotic arms, the challenge of cleaning up debris orbiting our planet has inspired some ideas that would make Isaac Asimov proud. The “Brane Craft” concept is no exception. Composed of an ultrathin (10 microns) sheet of flexible plastic attached to thrusters, the Brane Craft is designed to be a cheap, lightweight sponge for space debris, Popular Science reports. Once deployed, the craft would synchronize their orbit with potentially hazardous debris, envelope it within the flexible membrane, and then use thrusters to slow down and fall into the atmosphere—where both the craft and the junk would burn up on re-entry. Though not exactly reusable, the craft could be a cheap solution to the orbital garbage problem.

Latest News