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Massive Metal Net to Collect Orbiting Space Debris February 4, 2011
Collision of space junk
Satellites and manned missions are coming under increased threat of impact by orbiting litter.
A Japanese venture announced a unique approach to cleaning up the growing amount of manmade space junk that threatens to cause collisions with satellites, the International Space Station and other manned space missions.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the Nitto Seimo Co. said they will cooperate to place an ultra-thin metal net in space, spanning more than a mile in diameter, to capture the orbiting trash.

It’s estimated that there are 10 million individual pieces of debris in orbit, ranging from defunct satellites and spent fuel tanks, to collision fragments and lost tools.

As the strategically placed metal net captures the litter, it will become electrically charged and be pulled back toward Earth within weeks by the planet’s magnetic field, eventually disintegrating en masse in the upper atmosphere.

The company manufacturing the net first became famous in 1925 or inventing the first machine to make strong knotless fishing nets. It plans to have the space net completed within two years.

Graphic: File