What’s the solution to space debris?

April 19, 2015 8:32 AM

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In the over half-century we’ve had of space exploration, we’ve accumulated quite a bit of debris up there in space – an ever thickening blanket of dead satellites along with miscellaneous jettisoned debris clouding over the planet. So how do we keep it from getting worse? No idea’s too crazy — nets, lassos, even ballistic gas clouds are all options given the same consideration. Now, an international team of researchers led by the Riken research institute of Japan is proposing what may be the most ambitious plan. They propose blasting an estimated 3,000 tons of space junk out from its orbit using a fiber optic laser mounted aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

The team’s first step is to use the EUSO’s (Extreme Universe Space Observatory) infrared telescope in order to find large pieces of space trash traveling at high speeds. They would then use a fiber optic CAN laser, the type used for powering particle accelerators, to fire at the object up until its ...

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