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  • Our planet is surrounded by a hazardous shell of space trash that is threatening any chance

  • at future exploration beyond Earth.

  • NASA defines orbital debris as any man-made object in Earth orbit which is no longer in use.

  • This junk includes objects as small as screws and paint flecks

  • to as large as spent rockets and satellites.

  • There are so many abandoned objects that the U.S. military issues over 20 warnings each

  • day for potential space collisions.

  • So now, scientists are starting to deploy sci-fi inspired spacecraft to clean up our

  • mess, but it's not gonna be easy.

  • Since humanity's first satellite lifted off, we've launched thousands of satellites

  • and spacecrafts, of which, only a fraction are still active.

  • Many of the retired satellites are wasting away in low-Earth orbit, breaking apart into

  • millions of smaller pieces that make up the artificial junk cocoon surrounding our planet.

  • This is a huge problem because these tiny pieces of trash are traveling ten times as

  • fast as a bullet, and a collision between a ten centimeter sphere of aluminum and a

  • spacecraft would have the same outcome as the detonation of seven kilograms of TNT.

  • And the potential for collisions is highly likely.

  • In 2013, Ecuador's first satellite collided with a cloud of particles from an old Soviet rocket.

  • And in 2018, the CryoSat-2 spacecraft was on a crash course with a rogue object

  • so the European Space Agency had to shift the spacecraft out of its normal orbit.

  • The International Space Station has also been hit by debris and has the scars to prove it.

  • To protect the ISS and future spacecraft, European scientists developed RemoveDEBRIS

  • - a satellite built to combat space junk.

  • And in mid-2018, the first of its kind cosmic custodian was on the clock in space.

  • RemoveDEBRIS is testing out several different ways to dispose of space junk

  • launched from the satellite.

  • One of which is the net - a spider web of sorts made of super strong material

  • designed to capture junk.

  • Six small motors act as weights to spread the net to 5 meters across.

  • The motors are then used to close the net around the debris.

  • After a successful capture, the weight of the net drags the junk into Earth's atmosphere,

  • where it'll burn up.

  • RemoveDEBRIS will also test out a harpoon to snare rogue objects.

  • The harpoon projectile is about the size of a pen, and has a set of barbs near the tip,

  • which will latch onto the target.

  • These scientists aren't the only ones taking on the role of space clean up.

  • Russian engineers are attempting to use a process called laser ablation, in which a

  • beam would irradiate an object like a lost screw,

  • removing layers until it is entirely vaporized.

  • While we're finally making progress on the clean up, potential solutions like RemoveDEBRIS,

  • are still just being tested so they aren't yet being used at their full potential.

  • And even if the experiments prove to be successful,

  • legal hurdles are preventing a start to the clean up.

  • Until we perfect one of these concepts, scientists are focusing on monitoring debris using technology

  • like NASA's Space Debris Sensor, which helps zone in on objects too small to detect from Earth.

  • But just like pollution here at home, if we don't find a solution, the consequences

  • will be catastrophic and will certainly hinder any plans of future spacecraft,

  • and humans venturing beyond Earth.

  • If you want to see more Space Crafts, check out this playlist here.

  • And be sure to let us know in the comments what astronomical phenomena you want to learn more about.

  • Thanks for watching Seeker!

  • Don't forget to subscribe.

Our planet is surrounded by a hazardous shell of space trash that is threatening any chance


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科学者たちは銛で宇宙のジャンクを突き刺す、ここにそれが重要な理由がある (Scientists Impaled Space Junk With a Harpoon, Here’s Why That Matters)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日