Swiss Astronaut Claude NicollierSwiss astronaut and professor at the Swiss Space Center Claude Nicollier looks at a presentation during a news conference at the Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne February 15, 2012. The Swiss Space Center launched on Wednesday the project CleanSpace One, which aims to develop and build the first instalment of a family of satellites specially designed to clean up some of the estimated 16,000 space debris that are larger than 10 centimeters.
CleanSpace One SatelliteSwiss astronaut and professor at the Swiss Space Center Claude Nicollier gestures during a news conference at the Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne February 15, 2012.
Swiss astronaut and professor at the Swiss Space Center Claude NicollierCleanSpace One Satellite presser.
CleanSpace One SatelliteCleanSpace One Satellite
A rendering of items currently in Low Earth Orbit.Space Junk
Space junk now in Earth's orbit will be blasted into dust by a new Swiss satellite called the CleanSpace One, and its mission is a critical one. NASA says nearly 95 percent of the objects in the above picture are junk. Though Switzerland is not responsible for adding to that amount of space debris, they aim to be the ones cleaning it up. The Swiss Space Center is building the CleanSpace One satellite for the express purpose of finding, collecting and destroying not functional satellites and other orbiting detritus.
NASA's Orbital Debris office said there are nearly 19,000 bits of junk floating around the Earth larger than 10 cm, NPR reported. The junk can wreck satellites and even make more debris when the bits slam into each other. Because the satellite and it's target would be traveling at around 28,000 kilometers per hour, the whole idea is risky if CleanSpace One is off target even a little bit. Watch the video below for an explanation, and then start the slideshow to see CleanSpace One up close. Tell us in the comments if you think the project makes sense or if it's a waste of money.