High-Tech Space Net to Capture Junk Orbiting Earth

Approximately 95% of the objects in this illustration are orbital debris, i.e., not functional satellites Photo: NASA/AP

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Nitto Seimo Company aim to tackle the junk and overwhelming debris in space that is damaging space shuttles and satellites.

The new system involves launching a satellite attached to a thin metal net spanning several kilometers into space, which captures space waste while orbiting earth.

During its rubbish collecting journey, the net will become charged with electricity and eventually be drawn back towards earth by magnetic fields – before both the net and its contents will burn upon entering the atmosphere.

Inspired by a basic fishing net concept, the super-strong space nets have been the subject of extensive research by Nitto Seimo for the past six years and consist of three layered metal threads, each measuring 1mm diameter and intertwined with fibres as thin as human hair.

The company, which became famous for inventing the world’s first machine to make strong knotless fishing nets in 1925, is aiming for the fuel-free system to be completed within two years.


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