Feeds

Japan plans space debris fishing trip

Unfurls really big metal net

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has a cunning plan to tackle the menace of orbiting space debris - a really big metal net.

According to the Telegraph, the agency has hooked up with fishing net manufacturer Nitto Seimo Co to develop a metal mesh which will capture rogue scrap and consign it to incineration in the Earth's upper atmosphere.

Nitto Seimo has spent the past six years working on the space net, and if all goes to plan, it will be ready for deployment in two years.

Technical details are scarce, but the junk scoop is apparently made up of "three layered metal threads, each measuring 1mm diameter and intertwined with fibres as thin as human hair".

After launch, the net will extend over several kilometres, capturing debris while simultaneously acquiring an electrical charge - something which will eventually cause it to be pulled by Earth's magnetic fields towards a re-entry burn-up.

Space debris poses a real threat to orbital shipping, and there are as many as ten million bits and pieces waiting to do some serious damage to spacecraft and satellites.

NASA graphic of space debris in low Earth orbit. Pic: NASA

NASA's Orbital Debris Program Office keeps a close eye on the situation, and provides images of just how much junk is hovering over our planet (see pic above*).

JAXA isn't the first to suggest a space debris fishing expedition. Last year, US space outfit Star Inc unveiled a similar concept - the splendidly-named ElectroDynamic Debris Eliminator, of which a dozen could in seven years capture "all 2,465 identified objects over 2 kilograms currently floating in low Earth orbit". ®

Bootnote

* This particular graphic is space garbage in low Earth orbit within 2,000 km of the Earth's surface, representing "the most concentrated area for orbital debris".

NASA notes: "Approximately 95 per cent of the objects in this illustration are orbital debris, i.e., not functional satellites".

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.