'Fishing net' to collect space debris
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Nitto Seimo Co plan to tackle once and for all the hazardous litter in orbit damaging space shuttles and satellites.world Updated: Feb 04, 2011 12:16 IST
Japan's space agency and a 100-year-old fishing net company have designed a huge net to collect space junk, a British report said.
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Nitto Seimo Co plan to tackle once and for all the hazardous litter in orbit damaging space shuttles and satellites.
Last year, a US report concluded that space was so littered with 370,000 pieces of debris that a collision between satellites could disrupt our communications network.
The Japanese plan will see a satellite attached to a thin metal net spanning several km launched into space, the Telegraph reports.
The net is then detached, and begins to orbit earth, sweeping up space waste in its path.
During its collection, the net will become magnetised and be drawn back towards earth by magnetic fields - before both the net and its contents burn upon entering the atmosphere.
It is likely the net will target the orbital paths of space shuttles which are constantly monitored for debris.
It is thought that the net will remain in orbit for several weeks, collecting enough rubbish to make the trip financially worthwhile, before sending another net into space.
Maggie Aderin-Pocock, space scientist in Britain, said: "I am slightly apprehensive as the net will have to be used carefully because we wouldn't want a real satellite getting caught up in the net."