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JAXA To Use Fishing Nets To Scoop Up Space Junk

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the sounds-like-a-super-hero dept.

Space 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."

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FALLUTIN (1)

revlayle (964221) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152294)

clean up that thar space junks...git-r-doooone

But, but... (4, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152318)

What are they doing to make sure the net doesn't also entrap space dolphins?

Re:But, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35152434)

This is Japan. For scientific research purposes only, they're actually hoping to snag a few space whales in their nets. Maybe the whales want to be friends. The real question, though, is if the space junk will be thinking "Not again".

Re:But, but... (1)

orangeyoda (958347) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152442)

Make a new recieSpace-Sushi?

Re:But, but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35152516)

FUCK YOU DORPHIN!

Re:But, but... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35152740)

ANDA FUCK YOU WHALE!

Re:But, but... (1)

alta (1263) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152550)

More importantly, space turtles!

Re:But, but... (2)

ocdscouter (1922930) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152608)

Don' t worry, there's enough to go around. It's turtles all the way down, after all!

Re:But, but... (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152812)

It may be turtles all the way down, but space is up. It surely isn't turtles all the way up as well.

Re:But, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35152838)

Australians believe it's space all the way down and turtles all the way up.

Re:But, but... (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35153026)

Australians believe it's space all the way down and turtles all the way up.

Australians also willingly eat vegemite. From these two data points, we are forced to conclude that Australians get everything wrong.

What the fuck, Australia?

And sweet Jesus, don't even get me started on the marsupials!

Re:But, but... (1)

ISoldat53 (977164) | more than 3 years ago | (#35153380)

Will they have glass balls?

Re:But, but... (1)

curtix7 (1429475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152600)

Easy, they just send in space sharks to eat the space dolphins.

Re:But, but... (1)

red_dragon (1761) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152936)

But think of the tasty space maguro sashimi!

Re:But, but... (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#35153180)

You just reminded me of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (aka Save the Space Whales)
Bastard.

Re:But, but... (1)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 3 years ago | (#35153288)

Would you mind stopping that noise?

Re:But, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35153280)

The japanese don't give a crap about dolphins... They eat them!

Re:But, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35153348)

Space Dolphins are part of their cultural heritage, and are therefore OK to be snagged and slow roasted on reentry.

Theoretical Problem. (5, Interesting)

Onuma (947856) | more than 3 years ago | (#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:Theoretical Problem. (1)

AndyAndyAndyAndy (967043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152710)

Theoretical Solution: Electro-magnetize the net when possible (not when near functioning equipment and their signal paths). Attract to gather slow-moving particles, repel to [hopefully] slow down oncoming bullets on successive passes.

Re:Theoretical Problem. (2)

Onuma (947856) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152884)

You'd have to be a rocket scientist to design that...

Re:Theoretical Problem. (1)

sirrunsalot (1575073) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152898)

Orbital speed ~= 7.5 km/s. Then a 1 g particle going the opposite direction has energy of 128 kJ. That's equivalent to a 2000 kg car traveling at 11 m/s (25 mph). The only hope would be sending it to a lower orbit so that it burns up, but I just don't think there's any way to extract enough energy. Plus, you'll hardly ever pass the same junk twice. I guess that's why it's an unsolved problem.

Re:Theoretical Problem. (1)

AndyAndyAndyAndy (967043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35153126)

This is why math is important.

Re:Theoretical Problem. (1)

WiglyWorm (1139035) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152952)

If only electro-magnets could be set to "attract" and "repel" ferrous metals. If we could do that, I bet we could harness the tech for cheap as hell space launches.

Re:Theoretical Problem. (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 3 years ago | (#35153122)

I'm sure you understand that this will have no effect on the aluminum, stainless steel and titanium components used in most satellites.

Re:Theoretical Problem. (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152890)

Yeah, but even if it does work, isn't this a bit like trying to "clean up the pacific ocean" with a pool skimmer? How much of a difference is one net going to make even in the momentary level of junk if it catches something, let alone in the overall, over time level of junk? Funding stunt, anyone?

Re:Theoretical Problem. (3, Interesting)

XiaoMing (1574363) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Theoretical Problem. (2)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152992)

Who'd want to launch a BlackBerry at 20km/h?

Erm, wait. Don't answer that.

Orbital velocities ... (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152354)

The satellite with the net must spend a lot of time and fuel maneuvering to match velocities with the junk. At typical orbital collision speeds the net would have little chance of catching anything.

Re:Orbital velocities ... (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152522)

Well, the "article" the link points to is terribly useless. However, other sources were more illuminating.

I found that this is a very large "net", several kilometers wide. No changes in orbit... it would simply catch whatever comes by. I am not qualified to comment on the science, but I would presume that it is not designed to catch 100% of everything thrown its way but clear out items that are in a similar orbit, hence similar speeds.

Over time, the net would become charged and drawn into the magnetic field of the earth.

Not the level of detail I wanted, but it does clarify some things.

Re:Orbital velocities ... (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152548)

The satellite with the net must spend a lot of time and fuel maneuvering to match velocities with the junk. At typical orbital collision speeds the net would have little chance of catching anything.

I think it will catch something. Probably just ONE thing.
Then, with any difference in speed at all, the net will wrap itself around that one thing as the inertia of the object and the net deforms the net into a badminton bird shape.

It would need some way to make the net slowly overcome the deformation (spring poles perhaps). But a kilometer wide spring pole would weigh quite a bit.

Re:Orbital velocities ... (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152646)

Of course! Why didn't all the engineers working on the project think of that? They should have asked /. first!

Re:Orbital velocities ... (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152728)

What makes you think fish net manufacturers have engineers?

Re:Orbital velocities ... (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152808)

What makes you think the Japanese space agency doesn't?

Re:Orbital velocities ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35152828)

Because they were contracted by the Japanese space agency, which does have engineers?

Re:Orbital velocities ... (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35153094)

What makes you think that fish net manufacturers haven't considered the fact that a fishing net needs to catch more than ONE FISH before collapsing in on itself and becoming useless? Or did you really think that commercial fishing vessels went out and netted those piles of fish, one at a time?

Re:Orbital velocities ... (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35153144)

Clearly you know nothing about commercial fishing.

Re:Orbital velocities ... (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35153364)

Really, so they do collect the fish one at a time?

Re:Orbital velocities ... (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152752)

Possible solution A) Rotate the net and let centrifugal force do the work of your spring pole
Possible solution B) Apply a charge to the net so that it's self repelling, which they're doing anyway to control it's orbit.

Now, I imagine there are a good half dozen other possible solutions, and I'm not at all sure either of mine are feasible, but I am pretty sure that the engineers involved understand the basic physics of the situation and have probably thought of your concerns.

Re:Orbital velocities ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35153006)

I think it will catch something. Probably just ONE thing.
Then, with any difference in speed at all, the net will wrap itself around that one thing as the inertia of the object and the net deforms the net into a badminton bird shape.

It would need some way to make the net slowly overcome the deformation (spring poles perhaps). But a kilometer wide spring pole would weigh quite a bit.

Don't worry OP. As is always the case in these situations, there are engineers involved that understand physics and have thought of everything.

News from the future: (4, Funny)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152362)

"ABC News reports that since JAXA launched it's 'Space Net', mysteriously all communication and research satellites have been taken offline, except the ones belonging to Japan. As a result, stock prices for communications companies world-wide have plummeted except, of course, in Japan and have created panic and chaos on a global scale. Companies are now struggling to build and deploy hundreds of new satellites, but in the meantime are forced to piggy-pack services across Japan-based companies. For now, ABC news must be referred to as JBC. Back to you, Chou Youn..."

Re:News from the future: (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152470)

In related news, dozens of multi-billion dollar lawsuits have been filed in Japan, the USA, and Europe against the makers of the JAXA satellites various co-conspirators. Once soaring stock prices of Japanese communications companies have plummeted at the allegations and freezes of assets of the corporations, their directors, and their largest stakeholders have occurred....

Re:News from the future: (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152562)

That would have been a lot funnier if you'd used a Japanese name instead of a Chinese one in the punchline. But hey, Chinese, Japanese, what's the difference? "Arr rook arike" to you, I suppose.

Re:News from the future: (1)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152686)

Who says I was handing off to a Japanese correspondent? Chou Youn could be someone that has always worked for ABC and happens to be Chinese.

OK, it's a stretch.....

Re:News from the future: (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152760)

OK, it's a stretch.....

Yeah, the kind of stretch where you might need to see a doctor afterward. ;)

Re:News from the future: (1)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152802)

Nah, I know Karate, too. (Badum bum)

Re:News from the future: (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35153398)

"Arr rook arike"

Is that Chinese or Japanese?

Re:News from the future: (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152620)

Hilarious racist humor. I like how the American host of ABC has a non-anglicized Chinese name.

Catch or be ripped up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35152368)

And the net isn't going to be ripped apart by space junk going at a high delta compared to it? If that happens, will spall be created which will just add to the amount of dangerous space debris up there?

What About Small Debris? (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152392)

This might work for the bigger pieces that are easier to dodge, but what about all those smaller pieces that are much harder to track and evade? Is it possible to build a huge array of the gel that they used to collect fragments and dust from comets and use that to collect a lot of the much smaller pieces? Or are there some technical limitations to this, such as the debris having such a high velocity that they'd just punch right through the gel?

Vaporizing on impact ... (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152592)

This might work for the bigger pieces that are easier to dodge, but what about all those smaller pieces that are much harder to track and evade? Is it possible to build a huge array of the gel that they used to collect fragments and dust from comets and use that to collect a lot of the much smaller pieces? Or are there some technical limitations to this, such as the debris having such a high velocity that they'd just punch right through the gel?

Given the velocities a small object may be more likely to vaporize. I think the problem would be with the gel or foam losing material during impacts. Are we replacing one bit of debris with multiple bits? At orbital velocities a piece of gel or foam, or a blob of water, is quite dangerous.

The probes that collect fragments and dust maneuver to and match velocities with the target to a degree that the material can withstand the impact and be captured. They are not just put in a collision path and take a full velocity hit.

Re:What About Small Debris? (1)

TWX (665546) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152660)

Areogel is what you're talking about, and it's not a gel at all in its final state, it's a solid. I think the name comes from the gel state it is in while being manufactured, before they dry it out.

I was actually thinking much the same thing though. Since areogel is incredibly light weight, and since there are already materials scientists working on ways of mitigating the deleterious effects of small objects striking satellites and space stations, it might be somewhat more practical to design a structure to act as a space debris scrubber, with lots and lots of surface area and some kind of magnetic field to attempt to attract large numbers of very small metallic objects from a distance. Attract them and provide them with a fairly soft impact so that they don't punch through and don't break off pieces of the collecting device in the impact. After the useful life of the collecting device is ended, deorbit it, and send up another.

I've never worked with aerogel personally, so I really don't know how much mass it takes for a given volume or what kind of thickness would really be required to reduce the differences in velocity between the debris and the collector. I also don't work with rockets, so I don't know how much mass versus volume is feasible to launch (ie, the collector might be light weight enough to allow the thrust of the rocket to lift it, but it might be too bulky to launch due to aerodynamics), so someone more qualified should probably evaluate such an idea further. I do think, though, that if something suitably large could orbit for a long enough duration it would be able to help soak up the crap that's been up there for years and to make orbit a safer place.

For all we know, there might be a market for a netting device as well, but I'd be worried that the net would itself become small bits of space debris if it's damaged or destroyed by that which it's attempting to capture.

Re:What About Small Debris? (1)

LostAlaska (760330) | more than 3 years ago | (#35153066)

Perhaps we just need to send up a 1 kilometer wide bulletproof vest. >.

Wha? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152408)

1. This thing is just going to be the biggest piece of space junk until it burns up.

2. Unless it's got propulsion units, it's not going to sweep anything up, because it's just going to move at the same speed they are in that orbit.

3. If it's going to cross orbits, it's going to run into the problem of large objects hitting it at high velocities.

4. The first thing of any size that hits it at a low speed is going to ball it up, unless, again, it's got some sort of propulsion units to unfold it again, but that will just un-bag the thing it caught.

5. Anything of any size that hits it at high speed is going to poke right through it.

6. Anything in an orbit that this thing can reach and still bring back to Earth is in an orbit that's decaying on its own just fine domo arigato.

7. Many things in those orbits are supposed to be there and are still operational and very expensive; a lot more expensive than this titanium handi-wipe.

8. Stupid publicity stunt by a fish-net manufacturer. Pass the maguro sashimi and pardon my snicker.

Re:Wha? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152650)

1) I would imagine they'd be very careful on the orbit to ensure that it does not collide with anything important
2) Wouldn't the stable orbit ensure it is (almost) only catching objects with a similary orbit, hence similar speeds?
3) I don't think this is the case
4) Would giving it some rotational energy minimize this?
5) Again, I don't think speeds are an issue. if some items poke through, then they poke through. You aren't going to be reusing this thing.
6) I do not think that is the case. The net will be drawn back into the atmosphere because it will get electricaly charged and be drawn in by an atraction to our magnetosphere.
7) I would certainly hope they took that into account.
8) No comment

Re:Wha? (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35153394)

2) Wouldn't the stable orbit ensure it is (almost) only catching objects with a similary orbit, hence similar speeds?

While that seems like a reasonable assumption at first thought, in fact it would only really be accurate if most of the junk was in the same orbit, and their orbits didn't cross the orbits of other junk in significantly different orbits. As these pictures show, this isn't the case [nasa.gov] - most of the stuff was launched at orbits with high inclinations to the equator. In other words, it doesn't zip around in nice straight lines... it literally zig-zags across the sky, in order to cover the largest possible amount of the earth's surface (e.g. real-time tracking showing the paths of satellites [n2yo.com] ). That's good to have in a satellite, but bad to have in space trash. It's like a beehive up there.

Two objects moving at similar speeds can still have a pretty spectacular collision if they're moving at significantly large angles to each other.

Re:Wha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35152684)

Yeah, I'm sure the Japanese Space Agency didn't think of any of those things. Good job. You've saved them from making a terrible mistake. Why, they were just planning on sweeping up all the active satellites in orbit and burning them up with the space junk!

Re:Wha? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152854)

Same way they didn't think of all the space junk they were leaving up there, yes.

Re:Wha? (3, Interesting)

gnieboer (1272482) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Wha? (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152972)

There's also the fact that nets don't work on a velocity basis. They work by acceleration. That is, the net moves at one velocity, the water moves at another, and the fish, when it contacts the net, is now stuck between two forces acting on it in opposite directions. It's being accelerated by water drag, and held in place by the net.

This space-net would have to be "sticky" in order to keep anything it captures in contact with it. So either it folds up around it, which means game-over for catching anything else, or it has some exotic means of latching onto randomly-sized and -shaped things.

Plus, again, if it has no propulsion system, then after it hits the first object it will have an unknown orbit. Inelastic collision of a rigid object and a floppy object will give you a wide range of resultant velocities.

The more I look at this idea, the more I think it's the result of the Japanese version of April Fool's Day. Unlike that day when they all go out and worship the giant penis effigies. That's totally legit.

Re:Wha? (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35153314)

It's amusing how something that doesn't sound "sci fi" enough is poo-poo'ed by people whose sole exposure to anything resembling a space program consists of having seen the movie "Space Camp" as a kid, and having watched Firefly a few years ago.

I'm sure the physicists, mathematicians, and engineers at the Japanese space agency slept through all of their math and physics classes that would have allowed them to predict the numerous failure modes you've identified for them from your armchair. It's a good thing that they have slashdotters to point out all of the problems that I'm sure they've totally overlooked.

hey, we're talking Japan here (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152428)

Maybe they should use harpoons instead of nets.

We're whalers on the moon,
We carry a harpoon.
But there ain't no whales
So we tell tall tales
And sing our whaling tune.

This is like cleaning up the Pacific Ocean... (1)

RockClimbingFool (692426) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152432)

...with an aquarium net. Good luck with that.

Re:This is like cleaning up the Pacific Ocean... (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152546)

Ah, the peanut gallery speaks.

It sounds to me like a reasonable solution to part of the problem. If it can take care of the majority of small debris in critical orbital paths, then what exactly is your problem with it?

Re:This is like cleaning up the Pacific Ocean... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35152994)

Just like fish in the ocean, space junk is not evenly distributed.

JAXA what? (1)

sticks_us (150624) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152436)

I read the headline too quickly.

At first I thought it was going to be an article about some new garbage collector for Java.

Re:JAXA what? (1)

MikeDirnt69 (1105185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152656)

I could be sure that it was something about Java and AJAX...

Re:JAXA what? (1)

Bobakitoo (1814374) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152662)

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Re:JAXA what? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152754)

Shouldn't it be "DIA" not "IDA"?

Re:JAXA what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35153038)

I am dyslexic of Borg. You will be ass laminated.

Planet ES (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152488)

Somebody should tell Jaxa it was only an anime , not a documentation :).... Planet es [anidb.net]

What about NERF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35152502)

I can just imagine giant, expanding NERF spheres circling the globe, picking up garbage as they slowly get pulled back to burn up in atmo and cleaning up projected space paths. Launch them from drones or the ISS -- you can never have enough NERF!

NERF IN SPAAAAAACE!!

Not needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35152514)

JAVA already has an awesome automatic garbage collector. Oh wait...

Internet error. Not space net. (3, Informative)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152560)

No space net involved.

If you look at the details, there is no net involved. A company which makes nets is also able to make webbed rope-like material, and this is being considered for installation on a satellite before launch. When the satellite is no longer useful, the electrically-conductive tether would be extended, and induced electromagnetic forces would drag the satellite out of orbit.

Re:Internet error. Not space net. (2)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152714)

What the heck are you reading? From TFA (and TFS accurately):

          A JAXA satellite will deploy and release a kilometers-wide net made by Nitto Seimo of ultra-thin triple layered metal threads.

    And that's about as far as it goes. TFA says nothing about tethers.

Not exactly self-aware... (1)

slushdork (566514) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152602)

...but skynet is finally here!

Adopt-a-Space-Lane? (1)

djKing (1970) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152632)

This Stretch of Space Cleared by JAXA, keeping the space lanes beautiful.

Not sure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35152658)

The junk that's moving too fast will just rip through it. Much of the orbiting space junk moves at such high speeds that cause it to liquefy when it collides with other objects.

Thrown for a mental whoops (1)

carcomp (1887830) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152672)

I read the title, and the post, and before looking into the article, I thought, "Whats this about Japan, and Java, and AJAX calls, and outer space junk..." I also mistook "fallutin" for a medicine, so ya the post was about that too for about a few seconds. Jeez. I'm slow.

AJAXA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35152704)

Agile Space Agency?

AJAX To Use Fishing Nets To Scoop Up Space Junk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35152736)

Wow!

Web 2.0. Is there anything in CAN'T do?

this was refuted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35152792)

Was this story not refuted by JAXA?

There is no fishing net. A long wire will be attached to just larger pieces of space junk. The wire will cause drag because of charges absorbed by the wire and the interaction with the Earths magnetic field.

Planetes (2)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152860)

Of course Japan would be the ones to bother with this. Thank you, Planetes [wikipedia.org]

Why not just use Katamari Damacy? (1)

snookerhog (1835110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152920)

well?

....another Java framework!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35152954)

I reeled back in horror....that sinking feeling you get from the destruction of the world as you know it....I thought--for a minute--it was another Java framework until I was able to read the rest of the post. The shock melts away as I realize its just a good-old-fashioned stupid idea.

Space junk is a deterrent against invaders (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35152966)

If you were driving around looking for a house to rob, would you stop at a house with broken toys, an old Chevy up on cinder-blocks and assorted other junk on the front lawn? No, you would just keep on driving, looking for a clean, well-kept lawn: "Hey, this house must have something inside worth stealing!"

The same effect would work on evil aliens, cruising around space, look for a planet to maraud on. When they see all the space junk, they will just keep flying by: "What a bunch of crap that is orbiting that planet! It's worth landing there, Korg!"

Why not recycle it? (4, Interesting)

Plazmid (1132467) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

What about the differing oribtal velocities? (1)

wfstanle (1188751) | more than 3 years ago | (#35153018)

This doesn't sound like it would work! It's not as easy as netting fish in an ocean. We are talking about very high velocities here. If the orbital velocity of a piece of space junk doesn't closely match the orbital velocity of the net, it probably will blast right through the net. There are stories about a paint chip putting a crater in the space shuttles windshield. There is just that amount of energy involved. A possible scenario.... You are going after a piece of space debris and another piece of space debris collides with the net. The second piece, which you were not going after, is going to damage the net. Remember, they are talking about very large nets, the probability of this happening is not small.

Secret ploy to make recyclo-bots in space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35153048)

Ya right - they gonna take over space by reusing all the junk to make super-space-bots!!! It's a ploy by carver-entertainment to
control all human activity............

Seriously if you spend so much getting those atoms up there why not just keep them there until someone can reuse them
for something else. Can't cost that much to send up the recycling equipment?

Y'all know me. Know how I earn a livin'. (2)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 3 years ago | (#35153056)

I'll catch this bird for you, but it ain't gonna be easy. Not some LEO screw or spaceman's glove. Bad sat, 1960s. Three tons of 'im. Geosynchronous 'fore it went driftin'. RTG battery backup. This sat, swallow you whole. Little shakin', little tenderizin', an' down you go. And we gotta do it quick, that'll bring back your uplinks, put all your businesses on a payin' basis. But it's not gonna be pleasant. I value my neck a lot more than $300 million, chief. I'll find him for three, but I'll catch him, and graveyard him, for ten. But you've gotta make up your minds. If you want to stay alive, then ante up. If you want to play it cheap, rely on fiber-op. I don't want no salarymen, I don't want no mission specialists, there's just too many captains on this island. One billion dollars for me by myself. For that you get the bus, the payload, the solar panels, the whole damn thing.

.

Re:Y'all know me. Know how I earn a livin'. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35153112)

very nice

Re:Y'all know me. Know how I earn a livin'. (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 3 years ago | (#35153118)

I might have to turn in my geek card for this, and I did find it funny, but what the hell are you referencing?

Re:Y'all know me. Know how I earn a livin'. (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 3 years ago | (#35153202)

Never mind. I'm obviously not up on my pop culture [imdb.com] .

Re:Y'all know me. Know how I earn a livin'. (1)

DoubleUP (468055) | more than 3 years ago | (#35153358)

Yes, you'll have to turn in your geek card. Not for missing the reference, but for not finding out. [google.com]

The future is now! (2)

PongStroid (178315) | more than 3 years ago | (#35153072)

Quark! A series from 1978 predicted all of this:

The show was set on the United Galaxies Sanitation Patrol Cruiser, an interstellar garbage scow operating out of United Galaxies Space Station Perma One in the year 2222. Adam Quark, the main character, works to clean up trash in space by collecting "space baggies" - unfortunately for Quark, while circumstances frequently dropped adventure into his lap, he was always ordered back to collecting garbage when the action was over.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quark_(TV_series) [wikipedia.org]

What? No Robot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35153146)

It's Japan. I thought we'd see something more akin to Mega Maid [msn.com]

Obligatory Joke: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35153212)

We're all doomed. Skynet is real.

I still say the answer is gel cubes (2)

Solandri (704621) | more than 3 years ago | (#35153344)

Kinda like the gelatinous cubes in AD&D would clean up the dungeons. Figure out a way to manufacture aerogel cubes in space. NASA used aerogels to capture cometary particles because the high impact velocity with a solid would obliterate or vaporize the particles. It could turn a small piece of debris into a thousand smaller pieces of debris. An aerogel would decelerate the particle slowly enough that it could be captured intact. You want something like a cube because you want a big cross-sectional area to increase the chance of a collision - a sphere is the least effective design. Just put a bunch of them in known orbits. The smaller debris like paint chips which hits them will be captured within the gel. The bigger debris we already track and can be avoided. After a few decades, either de-orbit them, or just leave them up there since each should be big enough for us to track.

Problem is.... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35153390)

It's not old rockets up on blocks and dead satellites that are the problem. IT's the paint chips, bolts, wrenches, the tiny junk that causes issues. they need a electristatic space duster to sweep up the tiny crap that is the main concern. a second stage of a rocket that can be tracked is not that big of a deal.

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