Entrepreneur Nobu Okada has set off on a mission never before undertaken in the annals of human history — cleaning up Earth's space junk.

Man-made space debris comprises everything from defunct satellites to abandoned launch vehicles and even tiny flecks of paint. This floating junk is threatening our ability to explore space.

"Space debris is there because of humans, and solving this problem has been a hot topic among academics and experts," Okada, 44, said in a recent interview in Tokyo. "But at the moment, no one has an answer. And if nobody is doing anything about it, I thought I'd have to solve the problem myself."