Tech company wants to launch ‘space harpoon’ to clean up debris

Mike Krumboltz

European technology company Astrium has an out-of-the-box plan to get rid of all the old satellites and junk cluttering up outer space. The idea: a space harpoon.

Yahoo's Buzz60 explains that after more than 50 years of space exploration, there's a lot of debris floating around. The more debris, the more likely something could collide with a working satellite or spacecraft.

[Related: NASA is firing cellphones into space]

Enter the proposed space harpoon. Though just an idea at the moment, the huge harpoon supposedly could be used to scoop up of tens of thousands of pieces of debris.

Buzz60 explains that the harpoon would be launched at a piece of debris, which it would then tow to be burned up in the atmosphere.

[Related: 'Catastrophic' space debris collisions expected to rise]

The harpoon is just one plan for giving outer space a good spring cleaning. Experts will discuss all the ideas at an upcoming meeting in Germany.

As for the space harpoon, Buzz60 reports that Astrium will have it ready for testing within three years.