Japan scientists test tether to clear up space junk

Share via AddThis
Posted on January 16, 2014
This artist's impression released September 1, 2011 by the European Space Agency shows the debris field in low-Earth orbit based

This artist’s impression released September 1, 2011 by the European Space Agency shows the debris field in low-Earth orbit based on current data, not items in their actual size or density
Japanese space scientists are set to trial a tether they hope will help pull junk out of orbit around Earth, clearing up tonnes of planetary clutter, they said Thursday.

Researchers at The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have developed what they called an electrodynamic tether made from thin wires of stainless steel and aluminium.

The idea is that one end of the strip will be attached to one of the thousands of dead satellites or bits of rocket that are jamming up space and endangering working equipment.

The electricity generated by the tether as it swings through the Earth’s magnetic field is expected to have a slowing effect on the space junk, which should, scientists say, pull it into a lower and lower orbit.

Eventually the detritus will enter the Earth’s atmosphere, burning up harmlessly long before it has chance to crash to the planet’s surface.

“The experiment is specifically designed to contribute to developing a space debris cleaning method,” said Masahiro Nohmi, associate professor at Kagawa University, who is working with JAXA on the project, told AFP.

Read more at: Phys.org



40,189 science & technology articles

Categories

Our Articles (see all)

General News

Follow us

Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   StumbleUpon   Plurk
Google+   Tumblr   Delicious   RSS   Newsletter via Email

Featured Video (see all)

Dark matter can be observed by analyzing distribution of regular matter and its gravitational interactions in large-scale objets, such as galaxies. Image source: YouTube screenshot.
Complex dark matter
In this video, U.S. CMS Education and Outreach Coordinator Don Lincoln discusses how dark matter might have a…

Featured Image (see all)


Multi-Utility Technology Testbed Aircraft On the Runway
The X-56A Multi-Utility Technology Testbed (MUTT) is greeted on an Edwards Air Force Base runway by a U.S.…