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Science & Technology

Laser tractor beams could clear space debris

By T.K. Randall
May 1, 2010 · Comment icon 4 comments

Image Credit: NASA
A new tractor beam technology based on laser thruster engines could be used to clear space debris from orbit.
The technology could be invaluable for clearing debris from orbit, in particular larger and more dangerous objects such as discarded rocket boosters that would pose a substantial risk to manned space vehicles if they were to collide.
Now a tractor beam could prevent the accumulation of space debris-including all the dead satellites, discarded rocket boosters and other junk-in the Earth's orbit, suggests an expert. Space-flight engineer John Sinko of Nagoya University, Japan, has put forward his idea based on an experimental type of spacecraft engine called a laser thruster.

Source: Yahoo! News | Comments (4)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Mandrake 13 years ago
Great concept if they can get it to work.
Comment icon #2 Posted by pallidin 13 years ago
From what I read, this requires that thrusters already be on the "debris" which is then activated by remote lasers. How much of our current space debris has these?
Comment icon #3 Posted by Agent X 13 years ago
Comment icon #4 Posted by startover 13 years ago
"Now a tractor beam could prevent the accumulation of space debris" Until "could" turns into "can" and later "does", it's just a wonderful idea...

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