[Update December 13th] JAXA’s HTV cargo capsule has successfully reached the International Space Station and NASA is currently in the process of installing onto the Space Station.
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[Original Story] Over the years a lot of stuff has been sent, left, and even lost in space. All of that has resulted in a lot of junk left in space, which is a problem that we will need to solve if we want to keep things clean.
Thankfully, there are a number of ideas to help solve this problem, one of which was launched by Japan this week in the form of a cargo ship that was sent to the International Space Station (ISS), containing an experimental vessel that use a tether to pull trash out of orbit.
It was launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and has been designed to clean-up leftover pieces from old expeditions, such as satellites, pieces of rockets, and other random bits and bobs.
It will also generate electricity as it swings through Earth’s magnetic field, which they want to use to slow down the space junk and decay its orbit, as that orbit gets lower it will eventually enter our atmosphere and then burn up before it crashes on land or sea.
It is estimated that there is currently around 100 million pieces of junk orbiting the Earth, and this system hopes to help clean that up.
Alongside the tether, JAXA also launched some supplies for the ISS in the cargo ship, with extras like batteries and drinking water.