Space junks to be cleared by Bengaluru students

Jan 7, 2019, 8:45 am

Moupiya D.

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Space Debris does not distinguish between assets of different states and different types. And irrespective of who is being stigmatized for producing space debris, it will affect every other state’s assets, as it is a global common opined expert. Experts feel that the substantial problem with cleaning space debris comes because technologies that are needed to clean up the space debris are yet to be proven.

In early 2017 as ISRO sent 104 satellites into orbit on Wednesday, the wild applause was soon followed by growing mutterings about India’s space agency adding to space junk. The added concerns add to work for the solution of space junk, and a team of students from PES University starts to plan a technology for cleaning the space debris.

The satellite provided service which includes from Direct-To-Home TV service to telecommunications, internet and weather advisories that save the lives of fishermen, etc. are all adversely affected by the space debris.

The technology; built by the students will operate by a spool of carbon fiber wires measuring less than 15 microns in thickness ballooning out into a spiderweb-like structure that will help in pulling away from a dead satellite from its orbit. By the time it enters the Earth, the debris will disintegrate due to the heat generated by the friction.

The Space Age began on October 4, 1957, with the launch of the Soviets’ Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite. Since then, there have been more than 5,200 rocket launches that have placed some 7,500 satellites into orbit. Of them, about 4,300 remain in space today, but only a small fraction about 1,200 remain operational. The rest constitute space debris. Space debris or junk is estimated to be as much as a combined mass of about 8,135 tonnes circling our planet.

The students working behind the technology said the entire process of triggering the wires as well as creating the favorable conditions for dragging the objects can be done by activating an inbuilt generator to produce electric charges. “It takes about 60 to 70 years for a satellite in low earth orbit to de-orbit and disintegrate on its own”- Sharan Asundi

Last year in June, Japan successfully demonstrated a capture mechanism from the International Space Station using the technology of 3D camera to spot the location and speed of orbital debris in space. It successfully installed a net to capture a nanosatellite that simulated debris.

Such technological triumph certainly brings cheers as space is considered a Global Common and should be used for the overall welfare of the human race.

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