Nasa to use lasers to shoot space junk around Earth | Mail Online

 

 

The theory is that the photons in laser beams carry a tiny amount of momentum in them which, under the right circumstances, could nudge an object in space and slow it down by 0.04 inches per second.

By firing a laser at a piece of junk for a few hours it should be possible to alter it’s course by 650ft per day.

WHAT IS SPACE JUNK?

Australian farmer James Stirton stands next to a ball of twisted metal, purported to be fallen space junk, on his farm in Queensland, Australia

Since the first object, Sputnik One, was launched into space 53 years ago, mankind has created a swarm of perhaps tens of millions of items of debris.

The rubbish circling the planet comes from old rockets, abandoned satellites and missile shrapnel.

It is estimated that there are 370,000 pieces of space junk floating in Earth’s orbit.

The picture above shows a ball of twisted metal, thought to be fallen space junk, on a farm in Queensland, Australia, in 2008.

While that won’t be enough to knock it out of orbit, it could be sufficient to avoid a collision with a space station or satellite.

The theory marks a change in approach from previous research which looked into using expensive military Star Wars-style lasers to destroy space junk.

The new project uses equipment that is available for just $800,000 (£500,000) with the final bill coming to just tens of millions of dollars.

via Nasa to use lasers to shoot space junk around Earth | Mail Online.

Well, I kind of like the idea of Star Wars-like lasers, but this of course is a relatively cheap fix to the problem, though I imagine it will only be a temporary one, as the density of the junk gets higher and higher. But, with that higher density, I imagine a nice big thermonuclear weapon could be shot up to poke holes in the garbage-shield… We’ll see, at least this presents a decent option for the present.

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