China launches robot prototype that can catch space debris with net

The 30 kg robot that has been developed by the Shenzhen-based Origin space will pave the way for future technologies that will be capable of mining on asteroids.

Created On: Apr 29, 2021 19:07 IST
Robot prototype to catch space debris
Robot prototype to catch space debris

 A space-mining start-up from China launched a robot prototype into low orbit Earth on April 27, 2021, that can scoop up the debris or waste left behind by the other spacecraft with a big net.

The NEO-01 was launched on the Chinese Government’s Long March 6 rocket along with other satellites. It will also peer into the deep space in order to observe the small celestial bodies.

As per the space-mining company, the 30 kg robot that has been developed by the Shenzhen-based Origin space will pave the way for future technologies that will be capable of mining on asteroids.

Problem of space junk:

Thousands of satellites are launched globally in space by different countries. As the satellites outlive their use, many of them end up as junk which eventually poses danger to other operating satellites.

In what way China’s procedure of removing debris will be different?

Ever since the establishment of the first asteroid mining company of the world Planetary Resources in 2009, more than a dozen countries globally have entered the fledging sector, it includes Japan’s Astroscale and 3D systems of the US.

As per the report on the Chinese company’s website, unlike Japan’s Astroscale’s technology, which uses magnets to collect the space junk, China’s NEO-01 will use a net to capture the debris and will then burn it completely through its electric propulsion system.

China’s plans on first commercial mining of asteroids:

The Origin Space of China has been planning on launching dozens of space telescopes and more spacecraft in order to accomplish the first commercial mining of asteroids by 2045.

China has also been stepping up efforts to land a probe on a near-Earth asteroid for collecting samples and for expediting a plan for building a defence system against the near-Earth Asteroids.

Beijing aims at catching up with Russia and the US and plans on transforming China into a major space power by 2030.

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