All those defunct satellites up in space? They don't just float away into the ether. Instead, they make space travel dangerous. That's why Russia is spending $US2 billion on a craft to clean up around 600 pieces of space junk.
Space Daily reports that Russia's space corporation, Energia, plans to build a pod that will float through orbit for 15 years, get those old satellites out of the way, and then head back down to Earth itself.
The nuclear-powered pod should be finished around 2020 and will be fully operational by 2023 if all goes to plan. Fast Company thinks that the pod won't so much collect the space pieces as it will knock them out of orbit so that they fall back to Earth, where they'll either burn up or splash down.
Oh and the other thing Energia is working on? An interceptor defence system for any space object that might crash into earth. [Space Daily via Fast Company]