Unmanned Japanese probe fails to remove space debris

Earlier, Japanese agency reported that space junk collector is encountering some problem and has not been successfully deployed.

There's a lot of space junk orbiting Earth and it could make future space travel impossible.

Currently, there are hundreds of thousands of known pieces of space junk, which pose an ever-rising threat to satellites as well as manned spacecraft. There are almost 20,000 pieces of tracked debris now in orbit, and potentially millions of bits of smaller items swirling around the earth.

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The space cargo ship left the ISS on January 28 and re-entered the atmosphere on Monday, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has confirmed. "It is, of course, disappointing that we have completed the mission without achieving one of its main objectives", he said.

The 700-metre tether - made from thin wires of stainless steel and aluminium - was due to be extended from a cargo ship launched in December carrying supplies to astronauts at the International Space Station.

NASA believes there's more than 500,000 pieces of so-called "space junk" in orbit.

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Researchers theorize the should the amount of space junk continue to increase, it will eventually reach of a density where the number of collisions begins to cascade. The general idea is that the electrodynamic tether would attract electrons from the ambient plasma in the upper reaches of Earth's atmosphere and that these electrons could power a "current drive".

The Kounotori Integrated Tether Experiment (KITE) flunked its first orbital test when a glitch prevented it from properly deploying a 2,300 foot-long electrodynamic tether made to grab pieces of space junk, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) reported January 31. In June, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced Clean Space, an initiative to remove large objects of debris from orbit by using a giant net gun and robotic arm to snag pieces out of orbit. The debris would then be directed toward Earth were it would burn up on reentry into the atmosphere.

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