Ever wondered what happens to all the satellites, all of the propellers of the rockets, etc. when they are left out in the open? According to a report by NASA, around 100 million pieces of trash are circulating in space, leading to potential collisions every year. Space garbage can move through the oblivion with speeds as much as 17,500 miles per hour, putting expensive equipment and astronauts at great risk.
To resolve the crisis, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has blasted a space garbage collector, which has been constructed using a 106-year-old fishing net manufacturer.
The space trash collector was sent to the outer space this Friday using the HTV6 or KOUNOTORI6 vessel. The 2,300 feet long net is made out of aluminum and stainless steel mesh by net making expert, Nitto Seimo.
The tether also generates electricity to help in slowing down the junk. Slowing it down will decrease its centripetal force, causing it to lower down in orbits and eventually burning up in the planet earth’s atmosphere.
Net’s engineer Katsuya Suzuki said that although the current size of the space net is quite large, ultimately they would need to make a net 16,400 to 32,800 feet long – “to slow down the targeted space junk.” The shorter net has been sent for now to test the design functions, and JAXA hopes to start the regular usage of this unique trash collector by 2025.
JAXA researcher Koichi Inoue said in a statement,
“We need to take action on this massive amount of debris. People haven’t been injured by the debris yet, but satellites have. We have to act.”