【英国研究小组用“太空鱼叉”诱捕轨道垃圾】

【英国研究小组用“太空鱼叉”诱捕轨道垃圾】英国研究小组成功地测试了一种鱼叉,该鱼叉是用来瞄准太空垃圾并在轨道上捕获垃圾的。随着航天器发射数量的不断增加,空中客车公司成功地进行了这一实验,这是在清理太空垃圾方面迈出的重要一步。该研究小组希望解决太空中的废料问题,目前有16000到20000件碎片被跟踪。这款设备仍需数年才能投入使用,但随着发射次数的增加,这一实验似乎越来越有可能成为现实。目前有超过2.9万个可探测的物体漂浮在地球周围,直径超过10厘米。这种废物会损坏低空卫星,对全球通信造成损害。

British team spearheads 'space harpoon' to snare orbiting rubbish: £13m 'Remove Debris' project test-fire barbed arrow that could clear 8,000 tonnes of space junk

A British-led mission successfully tested a harpoon that's designed to spear space junk and capture it in orbit for the first time.

Airbus carried out the successful experiment which is a major step towards cleaning up space junk, as the number of spacecraft launches continue to increase.

Dubbed RemoveDebris, the team hope to tackle the issue of waste material in space, with between 16,000 and 20,000 pieces currently being tracked if orbit of Earth.

There are an estimated 8.1 million kilos of junk and debris floating around in space, consisting of debris from rockets and satellites.  

The spear pierces through the skin of a sample piece of debris with force being dangled on a boom at about one and a half metres away from the spacecraft.

Once hit, a barb is deployed on the debris and hold on to it to secure it. The target breaks off the boom when the harpoon hits home.

The device is still years away from operational use, but the experiment is looking more and more likely to be made a reality as the number of launches increase.

There are currently more than 29,000 detectable objects larger than 10 centimetres floating around the earth. This waste can damage low satellites, spelling mayhem for global communications.

The junk can travel at speeds of around 15,534 mph (25,000 kmph) per hour meaning that if even a minuscule particle was to hit an existing satellite it could break through the protective layer and damage it.

Astronaut Tim Peake previously revealed the damage that this junk can cause spacecraft, when he shared an image of a chipped window panel on board the International Space Station in 2016.

It is believed that something as small as a paint chip could have caused the damage, as it hurtled towards the ISS.

When in full operation, scientists aim to make the harpoon fire at debris up to 30 metres away.

Engineers back on Earth are still trying to work out how the system can be used to target moving objects.

The harpoon, which is a joint initiative including British efforts from Airbus, the University of Surrey and the Surrey Satellite Technology firm, is capable of travelling at 20 metres per second.

A previous RemoveDebris experiment demonstrated how a net could be used to catch potentially dangerous pieces of rubbish orbiting the Earth.

Next, the group are expected to test the drag sail part of the test on March 12.

Reacting to the development, Science Minister Chris Skidmore said: 'Space debris can have serious consequences for our communications systems if it smashes into satellites.

This inspiring project shows that UK experts are coming up with answers for this potential problem using a harpoon, a tool people have used throughout history.

'This mission is a powerful example of the UK's expertise in space technology and that by working together, our world-class universities and innovative companies can hugely contribute to the Government's aims for a highly skilled economy through our modern Industrial Strategy.'

原文:https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-6709557/British-team-spearheads-space-harpoon-snare-orbiting-rubbish.html


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