Science and TechSpace


A Net Just Successfully Captured Space Junk

The net and its satellite are designed to capture debris orbiting the Earth.
Posted at 2:10 PM, Sep 21, 2018

A group of scientists is trying to do something about all of the space junk floating around our planet.

The Surrey Space Centre at the University of Surrey in England, along with a coalition of researchers, launched the RemoveDEBRIS satellite in April. On Sept. 16, scientists say it was able to capture a piece of test debris using a net. 

That might sound simple, but scientists say it took years to plan and engineer the satellite.

Scientists say space junk is a growing problem. Debris can collide with satellites and the International Space Station and cause significant damage. NASA says there are around 100 million pieces of junk orbiting the Earth, and it was caused by humans.

RemoveDEBRIS is just in its test phase right now. The net and debris it captured are expected to burn up in Earth's atmosphere. But the scientists say the ultimate plan is to have the net tethered to the satellite so it can bring debris back when it captures it.

The satellite has a few more experiments before getting to that point. Up next, it will use a camera to track debris.