Drag sail: the space junk cleaner

Chinese engineers successfully designed a device that can get rid of space junk.

In case you didn’t know, some 5,000 of about 8,950 satellites launched into orbit have reached the end of their lifespan and are just orbiting into space as junks.  There is currently no way to get this garbage out of space safely until now.  

Called “drag sail,” the kite-like membrane is launched together with a rocket.  It automatically unfurls once near debris and helps send it back to the atmosphere, where it disintegrates.  The device measures 25 sq meters (269 sq feet) when fully unfurled.  It has a diameter of just one-tenth of human hair.

Drag sails are a much speedier option than letting junk deorbit naturally, which may take years or decades.  

Could this be the solution to our growing space junk problem?  Let us know what you think.  

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