OTTAWA — The Canadian military is looking for help taking out the trash in space.
Over the last two years, the military’s Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security program has awarded nearly $5 million in contracts to Canadian companies and university researchers to find ways to identify some of the millions of pieces of junk orbiting the Earth.
Now it is preparing to award more contracts hoping to find a way to get rid of the junk once it has been identified.
The European Space Agency estimates more than 129 million pieces of space junk are circling our planet, most of them smaller than a raisin.
The junk, often remnants of space vehicles and other debris from human- or remotely-controlled trips into space, travel at speeds of up to 28,000 kilometres per hour and pose significant risks to working space craft and satellites.
The Canadian military says current removal systems are ineffective and nobody has yet found a way to keep track of the smallest pieces of space debris.