Japan’s space agency has joined forces with a 100-year-old fishing net company in order to create a system to collect space debris.
By Danielle Demetriou, Tokyo: www.telegraph.co.uk
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Nitto Seimo Co aim to tackle the increasingly hazardous problem of debris damaging space shuttles and satellites.
The new system involves launching a satellite attached to a thin metal net spanning several kilometers into space, before the net is detached and begins to capture space waste while orbiting earth.
During its rubbish collecting journey, the net will become charged with electricity and eventually be drawn back towards earth by magnetic fields – before both the net and its contents will burn upon entering the atmosphere.
Inspired by a basic fishing net concept, the super-strong space nets have been the subject of extensive research by Nitto Seimo for the past six years and consist of three layered metal threads, each measuring 1mm diameter and intertwined with fibres as thin as human hair.
The company, which became famous for inventing the world’s first machine to make strong knotless fishing nets in 1925, is aiming for the fuel-free system to be completed within two years.
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