This harpoon could capture the potentially hazardous debris orbiting the Earth

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The Edge

This harpoon could capture the potentially hazardous debris orbiting the Earth

There are at least 500,000 pieces of junk floating around in Earth's orbit, including defunct satellites, rocket boosters, nuts and bolts. All that debris poses a threat to astronauts and spacecraft, according to NASA.

The University of Surrey Space Center wants to help. It is testing a satellite platform called RemoveDEBRIS that collects space junk. Once in orbit, the satellite will deploy two miniature satellites as artificial debris targets to demonstrate some of the technologies, which include net capture, harpoon capture and vision-based navigation.

The platform was launched to the International Space Station on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in early April.