Urban explorers have a saying: "Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints." Space exploration is no different, except that satellites sent into orbit to collect important information are leaving thousands of pieces of debris behind. Around 16,000 to be exact — each about the size of a human fist and of a sizeable weight. In some cases these pieces have made their way back to earth, but for most this "space junk" flies around in the deep, dark unknown and destroys other satellites. Collisions between satellites are unavoidable, but it's a problem that researchers are trying to solve.
Recently a 55 million dollar satellite was destroyed. Insurance premiums are already starting around 20 billion dollars. Being a space cowboy is expensive. Then there's also the issues that astronauts now face, their lives at risk from this exploding debris around them. Researchers have created a device called CleanSpace One to help with the problem. It's basically a fancy vacuum cleaner that grabs debris and drags it out of orbit.
As Geektyrant points out, the movie industry could have saved scientists a lot of stress, time, and money by introducing them to Wall-E. CleanSpace One sounds like the cousin of the Pixar trash compactor from the 2008 film — about a lone robot who is stranded on Earth, tasked with cleaning up the planet that has been evacuated and is covered in trash. We hope 2805 doesn't really look that bleak, but hopefully CleanSpace One can get the job done Wall-E style quickly.