clean space initiative

Can We Be Green in Space?

When astronauts sent back to Earth the iconic Blue Marble image in 1972, the picture galvanized the nascent environmental movement, demonstrating to the public how “tiny, vulnerable, and incredibly lonely” our planet is.

Ironically, a society capable of taking that photo is also one that is capable of grave environmental damage. As engineer Laurent Pambaguian put it to me, we’re “living at a time when life is comfortable and we have not destroyed the planet yet.” That time may not be long.

Not your average, terrestrial environmentalist, Pambaguian is part of the European Space Agency’s Clean Space Initiative, which claims that “reaching for the sky leaves footprints on the ground.” It seeks to understand the environmental impact of space exploration, then find ways to reduce it.

Read more. [Image: NASA]

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ESA’s active debris removal mission: e.Deorbit

ESA’s Clean Space initiative is studying an active debris removal mission called e.Deorbit, which will target an ESA-owned derelict satellite in low orbit, capture it, then safely burn it up in a controlled atmospheric reentry. e.Deorbit will be the world’s first active debris removal mission, and will provide an opportunity for European industries to showcase their technological capabilities to a global audience.