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 |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

Revisiting A Cloud City On Venus
I've been looking forward to something like this since 1980.

'Windowless Cockpit' Like Star Trek's Patent Applied For
Wait - you thought Sulu had a window?

NASA's Warp Speed Starship Design
'As Earth's faster-than-light spaceship hung in the void between galaxies...'- John W. Campbell

ForceShoes, NASA's Exercise Sandals For Astronauts
'Joe got out the gravity-simulator harnesses.'- Murray Leinster, 1953.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Monsieur Bartending Robot
'He poured the liquids into his maw...'

Cities Detect Gunfire Acoustics With ShotSpotter
'Sound trackers on the roof...'

Cruise Automation's 'Highway Autopilot' For $10K
'It cut her out of the stream of vehicles and reduced the speed of her car...'

Pengheng Space Capsule Hotel Staffed Entirely By Robots
'A planet-wide chain of hotels that specialized in non-human service.'

Electric Bacteria That Live On Pure Energy
'April 5, 1977; that was the night the waveries came.'

EXACTO Smart Bullet From DARPA
Nicely visualized in what 1984 movie?

Neural Implant To Treat Memory Loss
'You've got remote storage. How regular is the update?'

MIT's Shape-Shifting Robot Materials
The T-100, an advanced prototype, is made of liquid metal. Not quite ready.

LS3 AlphaDog Robot Marine Corps Video
'He admired the fast-plodding, articulated legs, so necessary since roads had degenerated...'

Vantablack Is Blacker Than Your Black
'Well, we have a black coating now that’s ninety-nine percent absorptive...'

Remotely Operated Gardening Rover - Student's Space Agricultural Robot
'There were things growing all over the place, not just in some domed enclosures blasted some millions of miles out in to space.'

Revisiting A Cloud City On Venus
Lando Calrissian, are you still available?

'Windowless Cockpit' Like Star Trek's Patent Applied For
Mr. Sulu, take us out.

'No Man's Sky' - The Matrix Is Almost Ready
Ready for an adventure, Neo?

The Claustrum - The Brain's On Off Switch?
'All I have to do is move this switch and he'll recover consciousness...'

Haptic Gloves Teach Braille Without Effort
'Jenkins bit his lip... [at] the sensation of having his fingers manipulated by the gauntlets he wore.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.