Feeds

Japan plans space debris fishing trip

Unfurls really big metal net

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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".

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
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.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.