At this moment in time there is an estimated 21,000 pieces of debris, each larger than 4 inches in size, orbiting the Earth. The debris is the result of space exploration, payload carriers, remnants from controlled explosions, debris from the international spacecraft separation and rocket motor waste. Humans are the reason for all this debris orbiting Earth and it needs to be cleaned up before it becomes too much of an issue.
Swiss researchers at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Lausanne may have the answer to cleaning up space. These Swiss researchers have been developing ways to safely and efficiently monitor, collect and destroy debris and satellites that will not be returning to Earth or that are not in use any more.
In July 2015 an announcement was made about the latest project called CleanSpace One. The project sees a spacecraft launching into low Earth orbit in order to collect and destroy the small cubic satellite known as the SwissCube. The spacecraft uses a Pac-Man like technique, which will deploy a net to capture the small SwissCube and then it will be destroyed in space. In raising awareness of the extremely important need to remove this debris, the Swiss development team are hopeful that the CleanSpace One will launch into space at some point during 2018.