EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY / DAVID DUCROS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY / DAVID DUCROS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Illustration of an unmanned spacecraft using a tethered net to catch and remove space debris from Earth orbit. Space debris ranges from the remains of failed launches to defunct satellites and unsecured tools that drifted away from orbiting spacecraft. Even a small object can cause a great deal of damage at the high speeds of Earth orbits. Each impact spreads more debris into a growing shell surrounding the Earth. European Space Agency (ESA) mission to remove a single large piece of ESA-owned debris from orbit. It would be the first-ever active debris removal mission. Image published in November 2016.
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