Attempts to capture space debris with "membrane spaceship" thinner than human hair is ongoing
Occurred with the development of human spaceSpace debris(Space garbage) is regarded as dangerous as an object that can cause serious damage to artificial satellites orbiting the earth and the International Space Station. Research is under way to drop such space debris into the Earth's atmosphere with the spacecraft "Brane Crafts" which captures using thin films thinner than the thickness of human hair.
Brane Craft Proposal Wins 2017 NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Phase II Award | The Aerospace Corporation
This spacecraft is thinner than a human hair and can capture space debris | Popular Science
Space debris is mainly spreading space debris generated from the spacecraft launched by humankind so far. Various sizes of garbage are going around the earth, such as things that are used for the hull of the spacecraft by small ones, fragments of paint, and the rocket body used for launch in large ones , I know that the number can reach as much as 18,000 at the stage of July 2016 even if I can grasp it.
The troublesome thing about space debris is that it keeps turning around the earth forever if you leave it alone. Moreover, since it moves at about the same speed of 280,000 km at the same time as the International Space Station and about 7.6 km at the second speed, even small fragments give great damage at the time of collision. There have been accidents that the outer shell of the spacecraft has dented greatly, the solar panel has been damaged, and the crack of the spacecraft's windshield enters great cracks.
Brane Crafts is a "spaceship" that wraps such space debris like a wrapping cloth and burns it by dropping it onto the earth and letting it fall into the atmosphere. Although it is a spaceship, Brane Crafts has no cockpits or hangar, there are 90 cm square hulls made of thin films as thin as only 10 microns, solar panels formed on the membranes, hulls It will be only computers that control the movement of.
The membrane can adopt a mechanism like "muscle" using two kinds of metals. By utilizing metal shrinkage caused by the potential difference, wrap it so as not to escape when space debris is caught. Then, if you catch the space debris, Brane Crafts generates thrust by injecting liquid fuel sealed between the two boats formed by the membrane from the injector, gradually decreasing the flight speed And it will burn the garbage by putting it in the atmosphere of the earth over 10 days.
Brane Crafts is the best plan selected by Phase 2 of NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) sponsored by NASA,The Aerospace CorporationWe are awarded development funds of $ 500,000 (about 54 million yen).
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Because Brane Crafts has only one banana weight per piece and a very thin structure, it is possible to reduce costs by launching multiple pieces together with a rocket. Normally it will cost 250,000 dollars (about 27 million yen) to launch a small satellite "Cube Sat" with a rocket, but Siegfried Janson, who plans at Aerospace Corporation, will cost this $ 5000 I would like to lower it to 10,000 yen).
However, due to its characteristic structure, there are still issues to be solved. Strong cosmic rays flutter in the universe and this has a bad influence on electronic equipment, but how to realize a device for protecting electronic equipment mounted in Brane Crafts which has only a thin film is at the present stage It is said that it is undecided. Also, although it is supplementing gradually by matching speed debris with speed, it is also important whether securing sufficient strength when capturing space debris flying at an extremely high speed. Also, it is necessary to check whether it can be torn when colliding with a very small and unknown space debris.
As a countermeasure against space debris, besides this, it is thought that braking is applied to the space debris by irradiating a strong laser beam from the ground, and gradually drops the altitude to fall into the atmosphere, but this is considered a military purpose It is also pointed out that it may be diverted to. The benefit of Brane Crafts is that it can be expected to achieve the same effect in areas other than Earth, besides the above-mentioned cost aspect. In the future it will be possible to use it to collect space debris that occurred when mankind became active on Mars. It also has the potential to be utilized as a tool for exploring asteroids by making full use of the characteristic that it can grasp and catch objects.