NASA is proposing using lasers and sweeper spacecraft to clean up the ever-growing problem of space junk orbiting our planet. Space junk, which includes defunct satellites, spent rocket stages, and even lost tools, poses a serious risk to operational spacecraft and astronauts. Lasers could be used to nudge debris out of orbit by using pulses of light to create a tiny thrust.
This would slowly alter the trajectory of the debris, sending it into the atmosphere where it would safely burn up. Sweeper spacecraft could also be used to capture larger pieces of debris. These spacecraft would be equipped with nets, harpoons, or robotic arms to grab the debris, then use their own thrusters to propel it into the atmosphere.