This Spacecraft Can Collect Space Junk and Turn It into Fuel

Even though scientists have developed a series of lasers that could eliminate large pieces of space junk orbiting around our planet, the smaller pieces are actually the real problem, as they can’t be targeted and disposed of efficiently. However, we were recently informed that a team of researchers from Beijing’s Tsinghua University has been working on a spacecraft that could actually use space debris as a fuel source, all thanks to a wide cast net and an advanced ball mill. As the spaceship moves forward and collects debris, pieces that are less than 10cm in size are caught in the net and passed through a rotating cylinder that pulverizes them into a fine powder.

The powder is then heated and passed through a special system that was designed to separate positively and negatively charged ions. The positively charged ions are key, as they are passed through an electric field that enhances their energy and transforms it into thrust. The problem with this ambitious project is that the ball mill is going to require a power source of its own, and while scientists have thought about implementing a mix of solar and nuclear power sources on board, having a large spaceship with a nuclear reactor in orbit could be potentially dangerous for those of us living below. I’m sure they’ll figure out a way to make it operational though.