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This article was published on October 30, 2020


AI to help world’s first removal of space debris

The European Space Agency wants to clean up the junk orbiting earth

AI to help world’s first removal of space debris
Thomas Macaulay
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Thomas Macaulay

Writer at Neural by TNW — Thomas covers AI in all its iterations. Likes Werner Herzog films and Arsenal FC. Writer at Neural by TNW — Thomas covers AI in all its iterations. Likes Werner Herzog films and Arsenal FC.

Space is a messy place. An estimated 34,000 pieces of junk over 10 cm in diameter are currently orbiting Earth at around 10 times the speed of a bullet. If one of them hits a spacecraft, the damage could be disastrous.

In September, the International Space Station had to dodge an unknown piece of debris. With the volume of space trash rapidly growing, the chances of a collision are increasing.

The European Space Agency (ESA) wants to clean up some of the mess — with the help of AI. In 2025, it plans to launch the world’s first debris-removing space mission: ClearSpace-1.

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