The University of Alberta announced Monday it is pulling itself up by the bootstraps with a new project and a new partnership with the National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA). The plan is to create a new version of the Canadarm, which manoeuvred payloads on previous space shuttle missions.

This new venture, Operation Dropkick, will focus on a modification of the old device in that it will be designed to clear debris from low-Earth orbital space. When operational, the invention, which local scientists lovingly refer to as the Canaboot, will punt space junk from orbit down to Earth. The punted material will very likely burn up on re-entry, possessing no danger to terrestrial life.

“This thing will be able to kick anything out of orbit, from old rocket boosters to decrepit weather satellites,” said one U of A insider. “Hell, if personnel up there get really good at it, we might get the thing to aim for kicking away those floating vodka bottles that the cosmonauts threw out during Soyuz missions.”

The biggest obstacle to getting the project off the ground will be lack of public funding. Undeterred, another insider said that the U of A might rely on private sponsorship. “You know, there’s no reason why we can’t get Canadian footwear companies like Sorel or Uggs involved. I mean, we can even design the tip of the Canaboot to resemble their hottest-selling items,” he said.

“And when you take it off at night, for sure it won’t stink.”

 

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