Japan Considers Using a Magnetic Fishing Net to Collect Space Junk

Geo Beats
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Scientists in Japan have begun to work on a rather clever solution for ridding space of some of its estimated 100 million pieces of human-generated trash.

Scientists at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency have begun to work on a rather clever solution for ridding space of some of the estimated 100 million pieces of human-generated trash floating around our planet.

They’re working with a fishing equipment company to make a huge, magnetic net that, if everything goes as planned, will be launched into space to collect some of the junk.

The need to do something is getting increasingly urgent, because if one of the 22 thousand of the larger pieces collides with other junk or worse, functional equipment, it could set off a reaction that could cause a whole lot of trouble.

In one tragic scenario, the individuals living in the International Space Station could be harmed.

Another possibility is that an incident large enough to cut of the world’s communications technologies could occur.

The Japanese plan calls for the net to be tethered to a satellite, which would then move through the field of debris, attracting pieces as it goes along. The first test and satellite launch is reportedly scheduled for February 2014.

Upon its descent back to Earth, the net and everything it collected would burn up when it reached the atmosphere.

The agency hopes to have a fully functioning system ready to launch in 2019.

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