10 Nov '11, 4pm

Shooting Down Space Junk with Giant Lasers

Shooting Down Space Junk with Giant Lasers

We've seen quite the array of ideas when it comes to dealing with space debris, from giant balloons to firing water at it . The amount of debris in space is a serious issue, as the more clogged it is up there, the harder it is for satellites and crafts to navigate without crashing into something. But this idea would use something far more interesting -- lasers. PhysOrg reports that a new paper titled Removing Orbital Debris with Lasers proposes "using a high-power pulsed laser system from Earth to create plasma jets on pieces of space debris, slowing them slightly, causing them to re-enter and burn up in the atmosphere or fall into the ocean." The method is called Laser Orbital Debris Removal (LODR) and it wouldn't require new technology to be developed -- it would use laser technology that has been around for 15 years. It would be relatively cheap, and readily available. ...

Full article: http://www.treehugger.com/gadgets/shooting-down-space-jun...

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