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ESA To Use "The Claw" to Clean Up Space Junk

EducateInspireChangeDec 3, 2020, 3:30:31 PM
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The claw arcade game has been featured in the hit movie Toy Story, and it has always been a popular feature in any arcade. Now, a larger version of that could soon be placed into the low-Earth orbit to clean up space junk.

According to a previous report from Science Times, space debris is getting worse in the low-Earth orbit that even the International Space Station (ISS) has to maneuver itself to avoid some of it that come their way. this is catastrophic as it can cause damage to any satellite or spaceship that they might collide with in the orbit.

The European Space Agency wants to make the claw into a reality by building a big one with the help of the Swiss startup ClearSpace. They will launch a debris removal robot that has a giant claw with it and it shall be named the ClearSpace-1 mission, Digital Trends reported.

Increasing Space Junk

Space debris specialist Darren McKnight of the tech company Centauri commends ESA's effort in removing space junk, which he believes if left unsolved would create bigger problems in the future.

With 5,500 space launches in 60 years, the space around Earth has indeed become increasingly crowded having left over 23,000 objects that are larger than a grapefruit in orbit. Besides, there are smaller objects as well that can not be tracked. But scientists are more concerned about the larger objects because they can collide and create smaller collisions.

The challenge now for ESA is to design and build an imaging system that can detect the space junk before the claw grapples it, and the only way to know it is by going up there in the orbit. Their options were using a net for a safe distance or the claw which is a close-up approach.

ClearSpace has grander plans by moving to larger and more ambitious targets which will be needed in the future, according to Hugh Lewis who models the space junk at the University of Southampton. He emphasized that the ClearSpace-1 mission will need about over $100 million to clean up 100 kilograms of space debris.

They are expecting to possibly bring down the "riskiest object in orbit," according to ScienceMag.

The UK Will Help Build "The Claw"

MailOnline reported that the United Kingdom has pledged to help build part of the claw that is designed to remove a piece of space junk by dragging it into the Earth's atmosphere to burn up.

The altitude and control system of the claw will be designed by the British company Elecnor DEIMOS that will work closely with ClearSpace as it orientates the spacecraft when it collects the space debris.

The claw is et to be launch in 2025in what was dubbed as a "robotic suicide mission" to capture single space junk and then destroy it with itself by burning up in the atmosphere safely away from any life form. 
 

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source: www.sciencetimes.com