Together with a firm that makes fishing products, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is planning to create a magnetic net that will be used into space to collect the garbage left by man across the orbit of our planet.
The equipment will be tested for the first time at the end of February. A rocket will be launched together with a satellite created by scientists at Kagawa University.
“We started work on this project about five years ago and we are all excited to see the outcome of this first test,” Koji Ozaki, the engineer who heads the development team at Hiroshima-based Nitto Seimo, said.
Once it gets in orbit, the satellite will release a magnetic wire net that is 300 meters long. The net will create a magnetic field that will attract, at least theoretically, a part of the metallic garbage spread around our atmosphere, according to the international press.
Experts think that around 100 million bits of garbage produced by man are moving around our planet, with around 22,000 of them being 10 centimeters long or larger and therefore being considered dangerous. Most of the debris consists of degrading satellites and rockets.
Colliding with even one of the smallest such pieces – a bolt, for example – could create a great damage to functioning satellites or the International Space Station, which has a permanent human crew aboard.
Also, if a satellite would collide with another one, that could trigger an “uncontrolled chain reaction” that could destroy the communications network on earth, a recent U.S. study said.