Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Contact us    |    Advertise    |   Help   RSS icon Twitter icon Facebook icon
    Home  ·  News  ·  Forum  ·  Stories  ·  Image Gallery  ·  Columns  ·  Encyclopedia  ·  Videos
Find: in

Scientists to zap space debris with lasers


Posted on Wednesday, 12 March, 2014 | Comment icon 19 comments

The Earth is surrounded by space junk. Image Credit: NASA
A team of Australian physicists have come up with a new way to deal with the ever-growing field of junk.
Satellites and spacecraft are already running a daily gauntlet of spent rocket stages, screws, bolts and other objects that currently encircle our world. As time goes on the problem will reach the point at which it will be too risky to sent anything else up in to space due to the risk of a collision.

To help combat this problem a team of scientists from Australia has developed a new system that uses powerful lasers to target and zap individual items of debris so that they fall back down and burn up harmlessly in the atmosphere.

The team hopes to have a working system running within the next ten years so that they can begin to tackle the estimated 300,000 pieces of space junk currently in orbit.

"It's important that it's possible on that scale because there's so much space junk up there," said Matthew Colless, director of Australian National University’s Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics. "We're perhaps only a couple of decades away from a catastrophic cascade of collisions... that takes out all the satellites in low orbit."

Source: The Guardian | Comments (19)

Tags: Space Debris


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #10 Posted by Ashyne on 12 March, 2014, 17:47
Why zap one piece of debris at a time when you can use a net to collect a huge amount at once?
Comment icon #11 Posted by JustTerri on 12 March, 2014, 20:05
Wow that's a lot of junk!
Comment icon #12 Posted by Calibeliever on 12 March, 2014, 20:58
Not a bad thought except I imagine the relative speed of some of these objects might make that a bit tricky. Even a small object traveling at several thousand miles an hour can pack quite a punch. You'd have to match your trajectory to each one you were tracking and I'm guessing they aren't all moving about in a uniform way. That would have to be one strong net.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Hawkin on 13 March, 2014, 0:56
This gives a whole new meaning to Skeet Shooting.
Comment icon #14 Posted by alfonso on 13 March, 2014, 1:08
if that pictures for real , a wouldnt like to think id be flying round in the ISS or anything to mars through all that ... ***SNIP***
Comment icon #15 Posted by Peter B on 13 March, 2014, 9:22
Is it actually necessary to say that the picture is not real? The number and location of the satellites is probably close to the mark, but they are not that big. At that scale they would be 100 kilometres or so across, instead of their actual size of a few metres.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Ashyne on 13 March, 2014, 22:58
The net would be hundreds of kilometers wide on each side. Japan has such a net planned, as an article posted here recently mentioned.
Comment icon #17 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 13 March, 2014, 23:34
Why limit yourself to only one method? It seems to me that such a net is going to need to be constantly manoeuvred in order for it to avoid functioning satellites. If it malfunctions in orbit it will, itself, become the biggest piece of space junk, and the biggest single threat to functioning satellites in history. If a ground based laser fails then it simply stops working until the engineers fix it.
Comment icon #18 Posted by :PsYKoTiC:BeHAvIoR: on 21 March, 2014, 13:17
I'd go mad with power if I was the one handling lasers to clean out debris. "IMMA FIRIN' MAH LAZOR!"
Comment icon #19 Posted by Calibeliever on 21 March, 2014, 15:29


Please Login or Register to post a comment.


  On the forums
Giant alligator filmed walking on golf course
5-31-2016
The massive reptile took golfers completely by surprise as it casually strolled towards a nearby lake.
Rare illness makes people think they are dead
5-31-2016
A rare condition called Walking Corpse Syndrome leaves sufferers feeling as though they are zombies.
Students report seeing 'alien' in Argentina
5-31-2016
Three witnesses claimed to have encountered the entity around one week ago in the city of Santa Cruz.
Kids in China climb 2,500ft cliff to school
5-30-2016
One school in China is so inaccessible that pupils have to climb down a huge cliff just to get there.
Featured Videos
Gallery icon 
How to sell nothing
Posted 5-31-2016 | 0 comments
Tim returns with a look at some intriguing items which contain absolutely nothing at all.
 
What if the world ended ?
Posted 5-30-2016 | 4 comments
What would happen in the event of an apocalypse ? Could you survive ?
 
Why does white noise make you fall asleep ?
Posted 5-29-2016 | 3 comments
What is it about the sound of white noise that sends people off to sleep ?
 
Simulating Mars atop a volcano
Posted 5-28-2016 | 0 comments
Six scientists have been living an isolated existence to simulate a mission to Mars.
 
Seeking new antibiotics under the sea
Posted 5-27-2016 | 1 comment
Scientists are seeking new treatments for antibiotic-resistant infections beneath the waves.
 
 View: More videos
Stories & Experiences
Not in our jurisdiction
5-2-2016 | California, United States
 
Zippers and headlights
5-2-2016 | Raleigh, United States
 
Spinning, voiceless and breathless
5-2-2016 | Garland, Texas
 
Paralyzed
4-15-2016 | United States
 
The mysterious awakening
4-6-2016 | Los Angeles, California
 
Chocolate fairy? Really?
4-6-2016 | United Kingdom
 
Christmas Day haunting
4-6-2016 | London, UK
 
The funeral director
3-30-2016 | Hebburn, England
 
A strange sighting in Spain
3-30-2016 | Albatera, Spain
 
Dust patterns on basement floor
3-27-2016 | Smithville, Texas
 

         More stories | Send us your story
 
Top   |  Home   |   Forum   |   News   |   Image Gallery   |  Columns   |   Encyclopedia   |   Videos   |   Polls
UM-X 10.7 Unexplained-Mysteries.com © 2001-2015
Privacy Policy and Disclaimer   |   Cookies   |   Advertise   |   Contact   |   Help/FAQ