"Human beings hardly ever learn from the experience of others. They learn; when they do, which isn't often, on their own, the hard way."
The Fountains of Paradise is a great example of Clarke's writing style; great difficulties accompany any great enterprise, but the calm application of the scientific method and sound engineering principles will always prevail.
Clarke isn't kidding about the problem of space debris; it has been a known problem since the sixties. Clarke had one possible solution; fortunately, no orbiting fortresses with lasers have been placed in orbit (as far as we know!). Take a look at Terminator Tether - Electrodynamic Tether Solution to Space Debris for a more modern solution. If you want to know the next big piece coming your way, check out the Upcoming Reentries page.
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