Ever since man started his adventure into space, we have littered the way with space trash, and now scientists have proposed a way to blast space junk and get rid of our mess.
Space junk or trash is what’s left over after space missions, and includes dead satellites, rocket stages, fragments of metal from explosions, etc., that is not only an eyesore, but is dangerous since current satellites and spacecraft could be hit by this garbage, thus the need to blast space junk. It’s reported that as of 2009, there were more than 19,000 fragments of space trash bigger than two inches in size and more than 300,000 at least half that size. So, what can be done to get rid of the trash we’ve left out there in space during our adventure to learn about our solar system?
New Laser to Blast Space Junk Out of Sky
Enter the new fiber optic laser that proposed to be installed on the International Space Station. The laser has been created by Riken Research Institute in Japan, and it is ready to clean up the 3,000 tons of trash in space.
The Institute says that the plan is to create a trial run with a small laser to see how well it works to blast space junk, and if successful, a full-scale version of the laser will be installed onto the ISS that would have a range of around 100 kilometers. The smaller version has a 20 cm telescope, as well as a 100-strand laser, while the full-scale model would be 3-meters long and have 10,000 strands.
Scientists added that eventually they might be able to produce a better laser that would go into a polar orbit around the Earth at a height of 800 kilometers, as that is where most of the space trash is located.
How Does the Space Laser Work?
The manner in which the space laser works to blast space junk is fairly simple. First, the trash in space must be tracked, as it has a high rate of travel. The tracking is done with an infrared telescope from the EUSO, or Extreme Universe Space Observatory. Next, the laser gets ready to blast space trash using its fiber optic Coherent Amplification Network or CAN laser, which knocks the trash out of the Earth’s orbit where it will naturally burn up as it re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere.
This CAN laser produces powerful pulses that can be modified to blast space junk and it can blow up pieces that are about one centimeter or smaller in size, the most dangerous pieces, thus helping to get rid of the trash we have left up there in the sky due to our adventure in space exploration.