Tuesday January 22, 2019
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ISS Launched First satellite For Cleaning Space Junk

The Britain-built satellite, named RemoveDEBRIS mission

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Earth
Astronomers discover ancient star formed by Big Bang, pixabay

The first-ever satellite to test possible solutions in cleaning up space junk has been deployed by the International Space Station (ISS) and would soon begin experiments in orbit.

The Britain-built satellite, named RemoveDEBRIS mission, is one of the world’s first attempts to tackle the build-up of dangerous space debris orbiting the Earth, the British space agency said in a statement late on Friday.

The 100-kg RemoveDebris spacecraft will attempt to capture simulated space debris using a net and a harpoon while also testing advanced cameras and radar systems.

The experiment is important as there are thousands of pieces of space debris circulating the planet, many travelling faster than a speeding bullet, posing a risk to valuable satellites and even the International Space Station itself, the report stated.

Once the experiments are complete, it will unfurl a drag sail to bring itself and the debris out of orbit, where it will burn up as it enters the earth’s atmosphere.

satellite
satellite, Pixabay

“If successful, the technologies found in RemoveDEBRIS could be included in other missions in the very near future,” said Guglielmo Aglietti, Professor at the University of Surrey.

The RemoveDEBRIS mission is led by the varsity and built by the world’s leading small satellite manufacturer Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), with technology on board designed by Airbus.

Also read: NASA’s Dawn Mission- New Orbit, New Opportunities

It was launched on a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft from Florida in April. (IANS)

Next Story

New Technology That Can Clean Water Twice As of Now

more than one in 10 people in the world lack basic drinking water access, and by 2025, half of the world's population will be living in water-stressed areas.

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water
Novel technology cleans water using bacteria

Researchers, led by one of Indian-origin, have developed a new technology that can clean water twice as fast as commercially available ultrafiltration membranes, an advance that brings hope for countries like India where clean drinking water is a big issue.

According to a team from the Washington University in St. Louis, more than one in 10 people in the world lack basic drinking water access, and by 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas.

The team led by Srikanth Singamaneni, Professor at the varsity, developed an ultrafiltration membrane using graphene oxide and bacterial nanocellulose that they found to be highly efficient, long-lasting and environment-friendly.

The membrane technology purifies water while preventing biofouling, or build up of bacteria and other harmful micro-organisms that reduce the flow of water.

Water
The membrane technology purifies water while preventing biofouling. VOA

For the study, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, they used bacteria to build such filtering membranes.

The Gluconacetobacter hansenii bacteria is a sugary substance that forms cellulose nanofibres when in water.

The team then incorporated graphene oxide (GO) flakes into the bacterial nanocellulose while it was growing, essentially trapping GO in the membrane to make it stable and durable.

They exposed the membrane to E. coli bacteria, then shone light on the membrane’s surface.

After being irradiated with light for just three minutes, the E. coli bacteria died. The team determined that the membrane quickly heated to above the 70 degrees Celsius required to deteriorate the cell walls of E. coli bacteria.

While the bacteria are killed, the researchers had a pristine membrane with a high quality of nanocellulose fibres that was able to filter water twice as fast as commercially available ultrafiltration membranes under a high operating pressure.

When they did the same experiment on a membrane made from bacterial nanocellulose without the reduced GO, the E. coli bacteria stayed alive.

The new technology is capable of identifying and quantifying different kinds of cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, as a threat to shut down water systems when it suddenly proliferates. Pixabay

While the researchers acknowledge that implementing this process in conventional reverse osmosis systems is taxing, they propose a spiral-wound module system, similar to a roll of towels.
Also Read: India Gets Assistance of Rs 3,420 Crore From Japan
It could be equipped with LEDs or a type of nanogenerator that harnesses mechanical energy from the fluid flow to produce light and heat, which would reduce the overall cost.

If the technique were to be scaled up to a large size, it could benefit many developing countries where clean water is scarce, the researchers noted. (IANS)