Japan's Launching A Giant Net Into Orbit To Scoop Up Space Junk

Something must be done to deal with the estimated 100 million bits of man-made space junk circling the planet, and Japan is taking the lead. But can we do? Shoot it with a laser? Invent Wall-E-like robots to collect it? Nah… let’s just blast a big net into space.

Japan's Rocket Launch Was Totally On The Cheap

Over the weekend, the Japanese space agency Jaxa successfully launched the Epsilon rocket, which is carrying a telescope, Sprint-A, for planetary observation. Jaxa was able to complete the launch for about $US37 million, half the cost of previous Jaxa rockets and cheap compared to an average $US450 million NASA launch.

Japanese Space Agency Caught Piece Of Space Junk *This Big*

The problem of space junk is being dealt with in a novel way by Japanese space agency JAXA, which plans to rope up loads of the broken old stuff from the 1960s in an old-fashioned, analogue, traditional net several kilometres wide.

Pogo Jumping Robot Could Rule Low Gravity Worlds

Japan, no stranger to work that involves delivering robotics to every facet of human society, thinks it may have figured out the best way for bipedal robots to move on low gravity worlds like the moon. Enter the pogo stick:

Surfing Earth's Magnetic Field With A Giant Space Ribbon

A Japanese rocket unfurled a 300-metre-long ribbon in space on Monday, testing technology that could one day allow spacecraft to navigate by surfing Earth’s magnetic field.

Japan Sending Mirrorball To Mercury

Fresh from the (possible) success of its Hayabusa comet dust hoover, Japan is planning a new space mission – sending a rotating mirrored probe to the currently fashionable planet Mercury.

Hayabusa Space Probe May Contain Asteroid Dust Or Just Normal Dust

See that? It might be a dust particle from an asteroid! Or it might be a flake of dried skin from a man in the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency factory that built the Hayabusa probe. No one knows yet.

Japan's Satellite Crashes Into The Moon, Sends Back Footage Of Its Demise

Japan’s Selene satellite has been sending us amazing HD footage of the surface of the moon for a couple of months now, but on June 11th, it finally crashed into the surface. And its final video might be its best.

Videos So Close to the Moon You Can Almost Touch It

Selene— Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s spacecraft mapping and filming the moon in High Definition for the first time—keeps returning crystal-clear videos of the Moon surface. And the video will keep getting closer and closer, until it crashes.

Unmanned Japanese Cargo Spacecraft Could Be NASA's Next Space Shuttle

With the dinosaur Space Shuttle set to retire in 2010, and Orion due to be finished (optimistically) by 2015, NASA may purchase the US$131 million unmanned HTV cargo vehicle from JAXA, Japan’s space agency, to guarantee fresh shipments of space-Doritos flowing up to the brave souls on the International Space Station. While they had initially planned to fill this gap by relying on commercial space cargo flights by companies like SpaceX, Reuters is reporting that delays in the private-sector space companies have caused NASA to look elsewhere to avoid being crippled by the Shuttle’s retirement. [Reuters]

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