Australians To Zap Space Junk Ala Arthur C. Clarke
Australian scientists are working to reduce orbital debris that clogs the handy orbits above Earth. According to Matthew Colless, director of Australian National University’s Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, the project will likely be a reality within the next ten years.
(NASA' actual space debris tracking)
“It’s important that it’s possible on that scale because there’s so much space junk up there,” he said. “We’re perhaps only a couple of decades away from a catastrophic cascade of collisions ... that takes out all the satellites in low orbit.”
Australia now has a contract with NASA, the US space agency, to track and map space junk with a telescope equipped with an infra-red laser at Mount Stromlo Observatory.
But $20m from the Australian government and $40m in private investment will help the team set up as the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) to develop better lasers to track tiny pieces of debris, importing techniques from astronomy used to remove the blurring of the atmosphere.
The ultimate aim is to increase the power of the lasers to illuminate and zap pieces of junk so they burn up harmlessly as they fall through the upper atmosphere.
“There’s no risk of missing and hitting a working satellite,” Colless said. “We can target them precisely. We really don’t miss.”
Over the years, various sf books and movies have made an effort to provide ideas to solve this problem. In his 1978 novel The Fountains of Paradise, Arthur C. Clarke uses Operation Cleanup to make sure that low earth orbit is clear of debris for the newly constructed space elevator.
Fortunately, the old orbital forts were superbly equipped for this task. Their radars - designed to locate oncoming missles at extreme ranges with no advance warning - could easily pinpoint the debris of the early Space Age. Then their lasers vaporized the smaller satellites, while the larger ones were nudged into higher and harmless orbits.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/12/2014)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )
Related News Stories -
Microbes To Terraform Mars?
'Terraform the little rock...'- Jack Williamson, 1941.
Tyson Says Asteroid Miners Will Be First Trillionaires
'...Come together here under the influence of their mutual gravitation, and formed a little metallic planet.'- Garrett P. Serviss, 1898.
Zap Space Debris With Telescope Laser On ISS
'... their lasers vaporized the smaller satellites...'- Arthur C. Clarke, 1978.
Spacex Sticks Landing! But Neglects Lateral Forces
Elon Musk and Spacex engineers will not be denied!
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Self-Driving Truck Corridor From Manitoba To Mexico?
Maybe this would be safer...
Electronic Tongue Knows Beer Better Than You
'Install taste buds in the end of one tentacle.'
NASA's Robotic Mining Competition
''Dave,'[Powell] said. 'You're a stable, rock-bottom mining robot...'
Should Humanity Switch To Robotic Pets?
'What about an exact electric duplicate of your cat?'
L'Oreal To 3D Print Human Skin
'...She helped the doctor spray on surrogate skin.'
LG Display Creates OLED Wallpaper
'A television that unrolled like a poster...'
Cool Foldable Mini-Quadcopter
'Eddie pocketed the bee cam...'
NASA's Subvocal Speech System
'She took a subvocal input device from its rack...'
Cicada UAV Dropped In Swarms
'We... dropped roughly a thousand eyes on Beta Hydri IV.'
AI's Now Being Taught Anger
Actually the Prime Radiant was just a display device.
Cicret Interactive Skin Display Prototype
'A strip of readout skin on my wrist...'
Lily Camera Video Sport Selfie Drone
'He set his camera to follow him, and it hovered behind him like a large tame bee.'
Metal Composite Floats Your Boat
'A metal that was apparently as light as cork and stronger than steel...'
Six Terabyte Solid State Drive Just 2.5 Inches
'A man or woman could carry AIs or complete planetary dataspheres...'
Israeli 'Food Replicator' Inspired By Star Trek
What flavor would you like?
Robotic Trash Can Wants Your Garbage
'The can pivoted on broad rubber treads and rolled toward her...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories