Japan Wants To Clean Up Our Space Trash

Japan Wants to Clean Up Our Space Trash

At this very moment, sh*t tons of trash is orbiting around us in outer space.

We’ve gotten pretty good at launching rockets but not at cleaning them up when they break or become defunct. Over time, the debris circles the Earth faster than a bullet from a gun, with size ranging from dust to massive chunks. According to experts, anything colliding with these chunks of space debris would have the same impact as Wile Coyote running over an entire trunk-full of dynamite (vivid image, I know).

A female Japanese astronaut named Naoko Yamazaki experienced the danger of this debris first hand. In 2010, a piece of space junk caused an inch-long crack in the window of the space shuttle while en route to the International Space Station. It ended up not being serious, but still a pretty scary situation. With estimate of space debris in the millions, the Galaxy Express 999 would be seriously f*cked.

Japan’s space program, JAXA, launched a cargo vessel into space late last year with the intention of catching space junk using a device designed by a fishnet company. It depends upon the invention of an electromagnetic tether. The basic idea is that these tethers will be attached to dangerous floating debris and the electrical charge being pumped through the tether will force the debris to drop in its orbit. Eventually, it’ll descend low enough that it burns up in the atmosphere.

Of course, the project is still in its experimental phase. In case you’re wondering, the green-machine is  under construction in Tokyo in association with a Singapore company named Astroscale. There is one ‘micro-satellite’ that identifies debris even as small as a millimeter and a second satellite that will capture the debris and defunct equipment floating around up there. They plan on using nets, harpoons and robotic arms to snatch these bits out of the vacuum.

Stay tuned until 2019: These mecha space-savers are expected to hit the industry at the speed of light.


Since we’d all rather be in space, we’re streaming Galaxy Express 999 below. 

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