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Japan to use net to trawl for space debris


Posted on Friday, 24 January, 2014 | Comment icon 18 comments

Earth's orbit is filled with space debris. Image Credit: NASA
The electrodynamic tether will be used as a way to help reduce the large amount of space junk in orbit.
Consisting of several hundred thousand fragments of satellites, rocket stages and other objects, space debris represents an increasingly worrying hazard for future space endeavors.

In the event of a collision, an object less than one centimeter in size could inflict significant damage to a spacecraft, while a collision with an object of 10cm or more could prove catastrophic. As the number of objects increases so too does the risk, with the eventual possibility of an orbit so filled with junk that further missions in to space would become almost impossible.

To help tackle the problem, Japan has come up with a special debris-catching net consisting of a 700m mesh of aluminum and steel wires. The device is designed to attract items of space junk as it orbits the Earth and has sensors that can pick up individual pieces.

Once it's filled up, the net would de-orbit and all the debris that it had collected would simply burn up in the Earth's atmosphere.

Source: New Scientist | Comments (18)

Tags: Space Debris

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #9 Posted by Eldorado on 24 January, 2014, 20:26
Reading is FUNdamental! http://www.newscient...ml#.UuCc9LRFDDd "Unlike a net you would use in the ocean, this one is a 700-metre-long mesh of aluminium and steel wires that hangs from an uncrewed spacecraft." "If next month's test launch goes well, it plans to build a 10-kilometre-long version to capture satellites that have reached the end of their lives." Wow! I sure hope those robots have big hands.
Comment icon #10 Posted by qxcontinuum on 25 January, 2014, 4:25
We need the space debris as a sort of minefield for when the alien invasion force arrives. Alternatively, we could launch the space debris as projectiles at the alien ships. Yes true. The japanese want to catch the aliens in the mesh, beat them to death and eat them. Same like they do presently with dolphins.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Xeder on 25 January, 2014, 11:26
Seriously some of those comments here are pathetic... Japan spent their resources trying to help cleaning every country mess in space and all they get in return are whinings: Fukushima and dolphins. They are trying really hard to handle Fukushima problem and since honor is the first thing they care about I am sure they are doing their best so stop whining. About dolphins, every country fishes billions of fish per year and noone bats an eye. Japan kills like 200? of dolphins and now everyone is enraged. Just because those are dolphins doesn't mean they can't be eaten so similarily to Fukushima ... [More]
Comment icon #12 Posted by qxcontinuum on 25 January, 2014, 15:06
Off topic , it isn't just the 200 , and the dolphins are not Fishes. They are smart intelligent mammals. Recently has been discovered that they have rationality like humans do, they have feelings including Fear. The male and female are pair for life. Their calfs are staying within family like humans do. They are the humans of the water. Killing is not necessary, it is absurd, it is outside normal charts. What if they would kill your family.? Will you give them excuses too? They killed jews they fight with Natzies against all other nations, they ravaged China in the past. They are savages and t... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by DONTEATUS on 25 January, 2014, 21:01
From magnetic space net trash removal to Killing HumanDolphins and over fishing,thats a strech Indeed. I`ll have to concur with Waspie on this one We all need to get together and start Now solve all the problems,not just How much Can I make out of it ?
Comment icon #14 Posted by qxcontinuum on 25 January, 2014, 21:46
Well the point of my rant is that if a nation want to impress all other nations with bold initiative in space conquest, first must outcome their retarded earth damaging behaviours. Otherwise will simply end up having space ambassadors looking for alien races as potential new foods.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Xeder on 26 January, 2014, 1:17
Off topic , it isn't just the 200 , and the dolphins are not Fishes. They are smart intelligent mammals. Recently has been discovered that they have rationality like humans do, they have feelings including Fear. The male and female are pair for life. Their calfs are staying within family like humans do. They are the humans of the water. Killing is not necessary, it is absurd, it is outside normal charts. What if they would kill your family.? Will you give them excuses too? They killed jews they fight with Natzies against all other nations, they ravaged China in the past. They are savages and t... [More]
Comment icon #16 Posted by qxcontinuum on 26 January, 2014, 2:05
well i guess you have a point, entire humanity is f **** . We want to conquest space but we are worst enemies to our own kind and planet. In case will conquer the space I can't even think about what we are going to do to potential alien nations we might discover We can't even live in harmony with creatures on earth rather than outside... LOL I am just being straight rational now ...
Comment icon #17 Posted by spacecowboy342 on 26 January, 2014, 2:22
We need the space debris as a sort of minefield for when the alien invasion force arrives. Alternatively, we could launch the space debris as projectiles at the alien ships. Space debris mine field against UFO's? I like it.
Comment icon #18 Posted by Ashyne on 26 January, 2014, 14:52
Space debris mine field against UFO's? I like it. In space, even a piece of orbiting metal the size of a pebble can punch through the hull of ships.


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