TECHNOLOGY

Space junk clearing technology developed by U of U researchers

Oct 29, 2021, 8:16 PM
space junk clearing technology...
Credit: The University of Utah Mechanical Engineering department. Jake Abbott.

SALT LAKE CITY — University of Utah researchers are developing technology that can move, manipulate, and clear space junk.

In a press release, the U of U reported a team of researchers led by Jake J. Abbott is developing a device that can move this junk with the use of spinning magnets. 

According to NASA, there are more than 27,000 pieces of space debris bigger than the size of a softball currently orbiting (the) earth,” according to a press release, “and they are traveling at speeds of up to 17,500 mph, fast enough for a small chunk to damage a satellite or spacecraft like an intergalactic cannonball.”

Currently, NASA is tracking the space debris in the same way that air traffic controllers keep tabs on aircraft. It’s a safety measure to avoid collisions, according to the U of U. 

Clearing out intergalactic junk with this space junk clearing technology will become an increasingly important task. The debris can block rockets and satellites from being able to reach orbit. 

And the space junk clearing technology has possibilities beyond clearing junk. The U of U said it can help fix broken satellites without harming them, and that even more avenues are possible for the use of this technology. 


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Space junk clearing technology developed by U of U researchers