Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Space Hardware

JAXA To Use Fishing Nets To Scoop Up Space Junk 210

An anonymous reader writes "We've seen high-fallutin proposals to tackling the space junk problem before — and now the Japanese space agency JAXA has teamed up with Japanese fishing net maker Nitto Seimo to haul in some of the 100,000-plus objects of space junk orbiting the planet. AJAXA satellite will deploy and release a kilometers-wide net made by Nitto Seimo of ultra-thin triple layered metal threads. The net will gradually be drawn into Earth's magnetic field and burned up along with the abandoned satellites, engine parts and other litter it's collected."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

JAXA To Use Fishing Nets To Scoop Up Space Junk

Comments Filter:
  • Theoretical Problem. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Onuma ( 947856 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @01:42PM (#35152350)
    One potential snag in their line (see what I did there?) could be the fact that some of these objects are moving in different or opposing directions. A single BB at 20000 km/h can burn through a solar panel array, what's to stop it from passing through a fine net? It'll still clean up lots of junk even with a greater-than-anticipated amount of holes, but there will certainly be discrepancies between projected results and actual.
  • Re:Wha? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gnieboer ( 1272482 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @02:15PM (#35152770)

    Yep, especially #2. Orbital dynamics means your not going just sweep stuff up in the same orbit you are in.

    A fun way to see this all demonstrated is a little iPhone game called "Osmos", you're a mote have to go along and try to absorb smaller motes. Many of the scenarios involve a "sun" that everything is orbiting around. It quickly forced me to remember my school day courses on orbital dynamics and how to do a Hohmann transfer, etc. It's decent entertainment (and no I'm not the developer)

    But as you'd see in the game, you need to be in a more eccentric orbit and sweep through other orbits if you want to pick other stuff up. And the delta V's involve lead direct to the parent's points #3 and #5... they will go right through the net.

  • by XiaoMing ( 1574363 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @02:29PM (#35152970)

    A single BB at 20000 km/h can burn through a solar panel array, what's to stop it from passing through a fine net?

    The end problem is as you've stated, these micro-particles travelling at ridiculous velocities. However these particles are created by the breakup of much larger pieces of debris. There are ~100k+ pieces of large debris (out of which 22,000+ NASA monitors), and it's the collision/disintegration of these larger pieces that result in all the tiny deathballs. By playing Katamari Damacy, the space debris is formed into a giant blob that slowly loses energy via drag. Eventually the orbit decays and the space manatees burn up in the atmosphere (where all that energy is turned into thermal kinetic energy rather than deadly linear kinetic energy).

    Metaphorically, it's not exactly saving fish from the microscopic plastic in the sea, but it's at least taking care of the floating plastic island.

  • Why not recycle it? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Plazmid ( 1132467 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @02:31PM (#35152986)

    Instead of throwing all that potentially valuable material into the pacific ocean, why not coral it all into one big "trash heap" and recycle it? After, it takes a lot more energy to put something into orbit than it does to move something to another orbit. At the very least, the trash heap could serve as a testing ground for space manufacturing processes.

"We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company."