Feeds

Japan plans space debris fishing trip

Unfurls really big metal net

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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".

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
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.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.