Science

Japan's First Attempt To Clean Up Space Didn't Go So Well

Japan's First Attempt To Clean Up Space Didn't Go So Well

Following undocking, the scientists expected to eliminate space debris on low-earth orbits with the Kounotori Integrated Tether Experiments (KITE), an on-orbit demonstration of electrodynamic tether on HTV. Unfortunately, one of the few projects focused on cleaning it up just failed. Scientists estimate that there are now more than 100 million pieces of debris in orbit and that they pose a growing threat to future space exploration.

Scientists have considered other techniques to trap and destroy space junk, including using lasers to vaporize the debris or sending small satellites into space that would trap particles and combust along with them. The danger is already very real.

For example, in 2009, a dead Russian satellite collided with an operational USA satellite, producing about 700 pieces of space junk in the process. The International Space Station (ISS) had to pull an avoidance maneuver around that debris two years later.

Researchers theorize the should the amount of space junk continue to increase, it will eventually reach of a density where the number of collisions begins to cascade. It intentionally burned up in Earth's atmosphere at 10:06 a.m. EST on February 5 (12:06 a.m. Japan Standard Time), according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Facebook loses $500m virtual reality case but profits double
ZeniMax had sued Oculus following the $2 billion acquisition of the company by Facebook in 2014. Facebook said it was "disappointed" by aspects of the verdict but was "undeterred".

Agencies around the world acknowledge this problem and a few have organized missions to combat it. At the moment, NASA tracks about 500,000 pieces of space junk the size of a marble or larger to make sure these pieces of debris don't threaten any needed satellites or spacecraft in space.

An experimental Japanese mission to clear space junk from the Earth's orbit has ended in failure, officials said on Monday, in an embarrassment for Tokyo. So on Sunday, the craft made a controlled deorbit - burning up in Earth's atmosphere on its way down.

After a week of attempts to get the experiment to work, JAXA was forced to give up and abandon the test.


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