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Why These Lasers Are Too Powerful to Use in Space

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Channel: Seeker
Categories: Astronomy   |   Science   |   Technology  
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Many countries have proposed developing giant lasers to shoot space junk into such tiny pieces so that they will no longer pose a threat to important spacecraft like the International Space Station. But, are space lasers really a thing?

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NASA Studies Laser for Removing Space Junk
“Kessler pointed out that when the rate at which debris forms is faster than the rate at which it de-orbits, then the Earth would become surrounded by permanent belts of junk, a scenario now known as the Kessler syndrome.”

Trash-Blasting Lasers Could Help Clean Up Space Junk, China Says
“China's willingness to experiment with rapid debris removal is appropriate considering that the country is considered one of the worst offenders when it comes to space junk, Universe Today reported. In 2007, a Chinese anti-satellite missile test was responsible for what is considered the most severe fragmentation of space junk in history.”

China has a plan to clean up space junk with lasers
“For the sake of their study, the team conducted numerical simulations to see if an orbital station with a high-powered pulsed laser could make a dent in orbital debris. Based on their assessments of the velocity and trajectories of space junk, they found that an orbiting laser that had the same right ascension of ascending node (RAAN) as the debris itself would be effective at removing it.“


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Special thanks to Matthew Morales for writing and hosting this episode of Seeker!
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Written by: Andra Cernavskis

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