DARPA Building a Gigantic Space Net to Clean Up Space Junk in Space

Earth's orbit is cluttered with dead satellites and other assorted space junk, making it increasingly dangerous for the ISS and new satellites. DARPA's solution? Catch 'em all in a big ol' net.

The Electrodynamic Debris Eliminator, or EDDE, would be a spacecraft with 200 nets attached to it, allowing it to gather up any errant satellites. It could then either send them into the South Pacific, angle them to burn up on reentry or even recycle the materials right there in space for use in constructing future space stations or satellites.

Pretty crazy stuff. But they already have a text flight planned for 2013, and if that goes well, there could be a whole fleet of these things cleaning up space by 2017. [TechWorld via PopSci]