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Scientists To Zap Space Debris With Lasers

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posted on Mar, 12 2014 @ 10:35 AM
Zapping Space Junk With Lasers

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."

Interesting news, but I was on the fence with this one. Would all the debris entering our atmosphere burn up and disintegrate or would we end up with some of the bigger pieces of our own junk back on earth?

Also wouldn't it be better to try and zap our space junk further away, or would that also eventually cause us a problem in the far future, in relation to space travel?

I'm not sure, but at least they recognized a near future problem and are trying to do something about it. I'm still thinking this isn't the best of ideas, only a short term solution.

What do you ladies and gentlemen think?


posted on Mar, 12 2014 @ 10:41 AM
reply to post by Rainbowresidue

They should just zap it into smaller pieces that burn up in the atmosphere. That is if its heading towards earth

But if its just chillin up there in zerogravity then just blast it out of the way of space crafts/space travel
edit on CDT10America/Chicagoth2014Wed, 12 Mar 2014 10:45:09 -05002014-03-12T10:45:09-05:00America/ChicagoWed, 12 Mar 2014 10:45:09 -0500America/Chicago by golden23 because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 12 2014 @ 10:49 AM
Interesting idea. Smaller items would burn up, but some of the larger stuff could survive reentry. But, I watched a documentary on this issue probably 8 years ago at least. One of the big concerns is that with the current situation there could be a Cascade Event. That is where a satellite or other larger debris has a collision and the breakup would in effect create a cascade of parts hitting other orbital debris, satellites, etc. and it would continue hitting more satellites and you would have a runaway situation where there is so much debris it would no longer be safe to leave the atmosphere. They called it the 'new shiny prison bars of Earth'. Something has to be done and as far as I know the only way to deal with debris orbiting at tremendous speeds would be to slow their orbit until it reenters and burns up. Catching debris moving at 18,000 mph or greater would be almost impossible with current technology from another orbiter. Obviously scientists have been seriously looking for an answer to the problem for many years and this is the first solution I have heard of since I watched the documentary.

posted on Mar, 12 2014 @ 10:52 AM
reply to post by Rainbowresidue

Thanks for the news! S&F

Notice how the debris form a ring around Earth? Rings, like Saturn, instead our is much less visible and is made of junk...

I still think that bringing these things into contact with atmosphere is a better idea.

edit on 12-3-2014 by swanne because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 12 2014 @ 10:53 AM
could also be used to zap aliens...where are the photon torpedoes? where's James T. Kirk when you need him?...oh yeah, doing Priceline commercials with Kaley Cuoco...geez, what a hottie

posted on Mar, 12 2014 @ 11:25 AM
What happens if the laser shoots an object, say a floating rock debris or an asteroid that contains a Kaiju that looks similar to a Moth?

Then the Kaiju disturbed, follows the original trajectory of the beam to Earth, wreck havoc.

We don't have Godzilla yet!!!!

Or do we.... bwahhahaha....

Didn't mean to derail the thread. Just crackin' a joke here. Seems pretty cool if we could do that, maybe used for future defense or something....

Just hoping we don't do any damage to ourselves in the process, cause usually that's what tends to happen.
edit on 3/12/2014 by truthseeker84 because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 12 2014 @ 12:07 PM
reply to post by spirit_horse

Thanks for the information.

I didn't know this could actually cause our satellites that great a damage.
Just imagine if they don't do anything about it in the future, and one day this actually happened, we'd be without tv, cellphones, internet,until they fix the problem.

So then blasting the debris into smaller pieces to burn up in the atmosphere is the best thing to do I assume.

posted on Mar, 12 2014 @ 02:23 PM
2007 Chinese anti-satellite missile test creates 150,000 particles

Anti-satellite missile tests, especially ones involving kinetic kill vehicles as in this case, contribute to the formation of orbital space debris which can remain in orbit for many years and could interfere with future space activity (Kessler Syndrome).[6] The test is the largest recorded creation of space debris in history with at least 2,317 pieces of trackable size (golf ball size and larger) and an estimated 150,000 debris particles.

Yeah. China's contribution to the problem was substantial. This will be just like our pollution of land and water, it won't be fixed until it's too late.

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