Space Junk

  Sep 17, 2017

Space Junk

Scientists are developing an ultra-thin spacecraft that can remove space debris which potentially threaten satellites or astronauts. The spacecraft will achieve this by enveloping junk in the Earth’s orbit and dragging it through the atmosphere, causing it to burn up.

The craft is called Brane Craft and is being developed by US-based Aerospace Corporation. It is flexible and less than half the thickness of a human hair. The spacecraft will be bullet-proof. The spacecraft is designed to be resilient. Its microprocessor and digital electronics are fabricated in a way to ensure that if one component gets damaged, the others will continue to work. Brane Crafts will be powered by ultra-thin solar cells as well as a little bit of propellant.

The Kessler syndrome is also called the Kessler effect which was proposed by the NASA scientist Donald J. Kessler in 1978. It is a scenario in which the density of objects in low earth orbit (LEO) is high enough that collisions between objects could cause a cascade where each collision generates space debris that increases the likelihood of further collisions. One implication is that the distribution of debris in orbit could render space activities and the use of satellites in specific orbital ranges infeasible for many generations.