Japan to Launch a Space Net to Capture Space Junk
Posted on February 24, 2014
Earth’s orbit has never been more dangerous with all the increasing amount of space debris — from nuts and bolts a few inches long to tons of abandoned satellites.
But thanks to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa), these pieces of space rubbish will soon find their way into the space agency’s 1,000-foot-long, one-foot-wide space net that will be launched soon into Earth’s orbit.
As ambitious as the mission sounds, Jaxa’s goal is to drastically reduce the amount of orbiting debris — an estimated 22,000 pieces are sized more than four inches — that could potentially damage active communications systems and, most crucially, the International Space Station.
Surprisingly, the technology was developed by Jaxa’s joint effort with a company that produces fishing equipment. The material is designed to attract space junk by generating a magnetic field. So the entire mission seems like fishing high up across the Earth’s outer realm.
Although the entire mission may seem too good to be true, and even when Jaxa’s first ever space net has not launched yet, the Japanese space agency has already announced its plans to send the same material into space, only this next time, it will be about half a mile in length, designed to capture all the remaining debris from Earth’s increasingly crowded orbit.