I gotcher editing sample right here.
This article fragment, from the Space Future Journal, was written with great breadth of knowledge for a science-minded audience. However, I thought it would benefit from a less formal tone, so I rearranged the facts and placed them below a more casual intro.
In their article “’Fishing net’ to collect space debris” published 10 February 2011, reporters Danielle Demetriou and Peter Hutchison of the UK newspaper Telegraph described a joint venture between the Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency (JAXA) and manufacturer Nitto Siemo Co. to deploy a kilometer-wide net to capture space junk and take it out of orbit before it could puncture space habitats and cause damage to working satellites.
The “net” as described, would be composed of ultra-strong, ultra-light strands woven together using the techniques first developed by Nitto Siemo in 1925 for knotless fishing nets. When fully deployed, the net would orbit the earth in low-earth orbit (LEO), scoop up fragments of debris as small as 1 cm., such as paint flakes, fuel residue, and such including things like fallen nuts, bolts, tools, and parts of rockets and satellites that have self-destructed at the end of their useful lives. Larger objects such as working satellites, spent fuel tanks, and rocket motors now have their own built in shields and would probably not be captured.
Space junk is a major concern of the increasing number of countries and companies lofting vehicles, satellites, and habitations into space. In 1978 NASA scientists Donald J. Kessler and Burton G. Cour-Palais analyzed the situation based on the limited data available at the time and predicted that in time not only would the existing bits and pieces be a problem, but as they impacted each other even more debris would be generated and develop a cascade effect. Later modified as better survey and cataloging was done by NASA, NORAD, and other agencies around the world, his predictions became known as the “Kessler Syndrome,” which has generated new policies governing the rights and responsibilities of governments and private owners to build safeguards into their vehicles so that when they break up they do not contribute to the amount of debris. Other safeguards have been developed, such as the “Whipple shield,” or MicroMeteOroid Deflector (MMOD), a thin membrane on the outside of spacecraft such as the International Space Station (ISS), which intercepts tiny fragments including micrometeorites and causes them to dissipate before reaching the skin of the spacecraft.
To date, over 19,000 fragments are being tracked, but it is estimated that over 600,000 pieces may be the real number because of the small size of many pieces. However, even a tiny piece of seemingly harmless debris, such as a flake of paint, can cause damage, as in 2006 when a small fragment of a circuit board hit the US Space Shuttle Atlantis and punctured a hole through the radiator panels in the cargo bay. The fear is the damage that an even larger piece would cause, up to and including loss of life and perhaps the entire ISS….
There are hundreds of operational satellites in orbit above us…as well as thousands of decommissioned satellites and their detritus, known as space junk. To date, 19,000 of these not-so-heavenly bodies are currently being tracked, but it is estimated that over 600,000 pieces over 1-centimeter wide exist.
With an increasing number of countries and companies lofting vehicles, satellites, and habitations into space, space junk is becoming a major concern; even a tiny piece of seemingly harmless debris–such as a flake of paint–can wreck havoc. For example, in 2006 a small fragment of a circuit board hit the Space Shuttle Atlantis and punctured a hole through the radiator panels in the cargo bay.
In the article “’Fishing net’ to collect space debris”, published 10 February 2011, reporters Danielle Demetriou and Peter Hutchison of the UK newspaper The Telegraph described a joint venture between the Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency (JAXA) and manufacturer Nitto Seimo Co. to deploy a kilometer-wide net to capture and remove space junk before it could puncture space habitats and cause damage to working satellites.
Unfortunately, the facts were lost in translation….