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In bid to remove 'space junk', Japan adds more to it
An experiment to remove 'space junk' just added more to it. Japan had designed a 'space junk' collector to pull rubbish from the Earth's orbit towards it in a bid to clean the space. But the machine has run into trouble, Japanese scientists said on Tuesday.

As of now, over 100 million pieces of garbage are thought to be present in space around the planet. The pieces include cast-off equipment from old satellites and bits of rockets, and pose a growing threat to future space explorations as the debris, moving at a high speed might come into contact with a satellite and damage it severely.

Japanese scientists from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) had entered into collaboration with a fishing net company and had designed an electrodynamic 'tether'. The equipment was designed to slow down the junk moving around Earth and bring it into a lower orbit.

The scientists had planned to bring the debris into lower orbit, make it enter the Earth's atmosphere and that would have burnt up harmlessly. This way no chance would have been left for the debris to crash with the Earth or any satellite.

The machine, about 700 metres in length, was to be extended out from a cargo ship that was scheduled to be launched in December. This ship was carrying supplies for astronauts stationed at the International Space Station.

But now JAXA has said that it cannot conform if the tether that has been made from thin wires of stainless steel and aluminium was successfully deployed or not. It also said that it is still making attempts to handle the situation and will continue to do so till the cargo ship re-enters the atmosphere on Saturday

This comes just two weeks after the exploration agency was forced to abort a mission that was intended to use a mini-rocket to send a satellite into orbit. The mission was aborted as, shortly after lift-off, the spacecraft carrying the satellite stopped sending data to ground control.

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