We can’t really see it from where we are, but in reality there is a lot of junk floating in space and in our orbit. Its actually our fault since the junk consists of debris from previous space missions, and you would think that we would have learnt to clean up after ourselves already, but apparently not. Well it looks like Japan could be doing everyone a huge favor as the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has announced a plan to create a gigantic magnetic space net that will basically attempt to scoop up all the junk that we have left floating around in space.
The first trial is expected to begin next month with a satellite developed at the Kagawa University. Basically how it works is that when in space, the satellite will release a 300m long wire that can generate a magnetic field in which some (if not most) of the debris will be attracted to it. The final product is expected to be a lot bigger at 30cm wide but 1km in length. The collected debris and the net will then be released and sent towards the Earth’s atmosphere it is expected to burn up upon entry.
Assuming that this mission is a success, JAXA plans on cleaning up even larger objects, such as non-functional satellites that are just sitting out there. Wondering when all of this will be happening? Well it seems that we are in for a wait as the first space net satellite (not counting the test unit) will be deployed in 2019.