Japan Launches 'Space Junk Collector'
Technological junk on Earth and in space reportedly accounts for roughly 30 trillion tons, an amount significantly higher than the actual biological mass on Earth and in space. The less these junk are collected and reused, the more junk will be collected on Earth. Japan recently launched a "space junk collector" to minimize waste in space and bring them back to Earth to be used again in the future.
Space technology does not come cheap, and there are certain pure metals that are used as raw materials. Once they are released into orbit and are disintegrated from shuttles and pods, they become useless pieces of material floating randomly on the earth's exo-atmosphere.
Dubbed as the Kounotori, an unmanned cargo ship was launched early December to the International Space Station. The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency or JAXA has been experimenting numerous times on how they could possibly pull out junk from the orbit around Earth. They have claimed that additional space junk could potentially create hazard not only to space explorers but also to people living on Earth.
According to a report from BBC, this space technology has been designed with lubricated, electrodynamic tether that has the ability to generate the capable energy to de-orbit junk and push it toward the atmosphere where the pull of gravity and air friction will cause it to burn up. Although there are lesser possibilities for these junk to be "reused," it is still a better to clear the space of any waste or junk.
Times of India reported that this specific method of space junk reduction can only be used for massive objects, and the process of reducing smaller sized waste is still in the process of design. It is still unknown if the Kounotori will be a success in reducing space junk, but it is one of the first big steps toward the reduction of 100 million pieces of waste in space.