For a while now I’ve been concerned about orbital debris, AKA space debris, AKA space junk. I’ve read about proposals to use lasers and water cannons to try to force this junk out of orbit, but I’ve had an idea, and I’m wondering how realistic my idea is.
My idea is to create a “cloud” of air in orbit, and any debris passing through it would be slowed down, so as to fall out of orbit faster. The cloud would be created by a rocket that had tanks filled with compressed air, or more likely tanks of liquid nitrogen and liquid oxygen in a roughly 3:1 ratio.
Could such a scheme actually work? Would it make a difference? I’m guessing that my “air cloud” would dissapate fairly quickly, which is probably what you’d want, so that satellites or the ISS aren’t jeopardized. Could there be any effects on the weather by adding a pocket of extra gas up there?