A research and development department inside the Russian space agency wants to build a laser cannon
A conceptual illustration by artist Edward L. Cooper of a ground-based laser developed by the USSR decades ago (Image: US Department of Defense)
Scientists and researchers have been warning us about the dangers of space junk for a while now.
These lumps of disused satellites and rocket fragments orbit the Earth and present a growing danger to future launches and upcoming space projects.
But the Russians have an idea to start blasting away the space clutter with a gigantic laser.
According to Live Science , which picked up on a report from RT, Precision Instrument Systems – an R&D wing of the Russian space agency Roscosmos has submitted plans to build a laser cannon.
The plan is to transform a 3-meter optical telescope into a blaster that can vaporise floating bits of debris in low Earth orbit.
Russia’s Altay Optical-Laser Center will be tasked with actually building the intergalactic shooter, and will add an optical detection system to help hunt down the right targets.
The idea might not seem as outrageous as you think. Other means of tackling the space junk problem include Airbus building a giant space harpoon to capture big particles and pull them into the atmosphere, burning them up on re-entry.
Airbus says it hopes to have a larger one-metre-long harpoon up in space by 2020.
“The harpoon goes through these panels like a hot knife through butter,” Alastair Wayman, one of the engineers working on the project, told the BBC
There are over 20,000 pieces of debris the size larger than a cricket ball orbiting the planet and there are more than half a million pieces of debris larger than marble according to recent NASA statistics.
They can travel at speeds of up to 17,500 mph (28,164 km/h), and at this kind of speed, even a small piece can seriously damage satellites or spacecrafts.
It’s believed that at least one satellite a year is destroyed by coming into contact with space junk.
This post was originally from MIRROR
By Jeff Parsons