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Life On The Death Star - Shooting Lasers At Space Junk

Star Wars junkies rejoice - it looks like we may be living on the Death Star! The latest proposal from NASA involves shooting lasers into space.

A team of researchers from NASA and Stanford University suggest that the best way to deal with the 600,000-plus pieces of space junk (or orbital debris) floating around in low-Earth orbit is to shoot them out of the sky. With lasers.

As much as this could seem a little drastic, the issue is a serious one. With so much junk already out there, and now the "runaway growth of debris" resulting from over 50 nations having launched thousands of satellites, means that a collision between two objects out there is not only likely, it is inevitable.

One collision may not seem to be such a bad thing, but one collision could be all it takes to turn a relatively well managed zero-gravity traffic flow into total chaos. This was the concern of NASA's Don Kessler back in 1978, when he proposed the Kessler Syndrome: a chain reaction of collisions that produces a multi-billion dollar demolition derby.

So coming up with an idea to remove space junk is very important. Other suggestions to date include catching it in a net, firing ion beams at it to push it out of the way, and using a remotely controlled space ship to capture it. All of these ideas are expensive, and fraught with difficulty and potential hazards. For instance, a couple of questions that come to mind for this particular ground-based laser proposal include: 1) won't each little smithereen create another piece of space junk?; and 2) what if you miss?

Here's a video created by Juan F. Castillo, Julian Duran and Joseph Duran from the University of Texas at El Paso, predicting our fate under all of this orbital debris:

Jamie Reygle
Great Ideas Blogger
InventorSpot.com

Comments
Mar 16, 2011
by Anonymous

Radical concept

Plus theres 357B alone in Servicing satellites in Orbit
IE Your Direct TV, Dish TV, cel phone system, Ipad etc.
But we need to trash this low level space debris alone.
& install in 747s to smash debris too.
Huge job source.