Japan Teams Up With Fishing Net Maker To Haul In A Catch of Space Debris

Space Junk An artist’s impression of space debris in low-Earth orbit. The U.S. government wants a better surveillance system to keep track of the thousands of space junk pieces. ESA

The proliferation of space debris surrounding our planet isn’t just a theoretical problem–flying extraterrestrial garbage can cause damage to satellites, manned and unmanned space missions, and even the International Space Station. So we’ve seen quite a few proposed solutions already, but this is one of the best: Japan’s space agency is partnering with a leading Japanese fishing net company to create a high-tech space net to capture all that unwelcome detritus above us.

JAXA, Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency, is collaborating with Nitto Seimo Co, a fishing net manufacturer responsible for the first strong knot-less net, on a very special kind of net. This one will be made of super strong 1mm triple-layered threads, which when extended will span several kilometers of space. The net will be launched with a satellite, and when detached, will begin orbiting Earth, collecting the miscellaneous engine parts, particles, and abandoned satellites that litter that region.

http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2011-02/japan-teams-fishing-net-maker-magnetic-space-debris-net

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