How Japan Plans to Launch a Giant Net into Space to Clean Up Millions of Pieces of Man-Made Trash
While some environmentalists have their eyes set on cleaning up Mother Earth, what do you think we should do about the approximately 100 million pieces of trash floating around space? Perhaps we could tap George Lucas to invent some Star Wars-like contraption to zap them out with lasers? Or figure out a way to send out some signal to make all this trash self-destruct like a Snapchat message?
Japan actually has a more realistic plan in place, even if it sounds like it’s straight out of a science fiction film. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has teamed up with a fishing equipment company to launch one of the largest nets made in history out into space to sweep up all the man-made trash floating around. JAXA’s net is made out of a 1,000-foot long by 1-foot wide wire that, once unraveled, will generate a magnetic field to attract other nearby metallic objects!
Experts believe there are about 22,000 pieces of large (over 4-inches) space debris that could pose a threat to our existing space stations, satellites and communication structures in orbit if they were to come in contact. Most of this trash is from left over shuttle and satellite parts from previous space missions. While those classic expeditions helped pave the way for the future of space exploration, scientists are hoping to prevent these daring voyages from impeding our progress going forward.
Image by ESA / AP