Great for keeping sandwiches fresh AND de-orbiting sails

Blighty's defence boffins are now spending £10m per year on space research, including a satellite mission set for blast-off in 2019.

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) is spending a total of £50m over the next five years on space "innovation", in particular for two space-related projects.

One of these is the Daedalus experiment, which aims to clear up space junk – that is, dead satellites in low Earth orbit – by attaching aluminium foil (a "de-orbiting sail" in the jargon).

The foil increases the satellite's drag and pulls it down into the thicker levels of the atmosphere where it will burn up.

Currently, space junk is destroyed by firing rockets at it.

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