Scientists have been going through many efforts to determine the best method to do away with unwanted space garbage. Their efforts have finally paid off as a new laser cannon satellite will be added to the International Space Station to dispose space junk in the following years.
Scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, as well as the European Space Agency have developed numerous new technologies for the proper functioning of the International Space Station. In addition to the many potential dangers that the agencies are trying to eliminate is also the risk of space debris.
According to scientists at the European Space Agency, small disposed junks existing in space could hit and damage the ISS causing it to no longer work properly. For that matter recent endeavors have been carried out in order to find an effective method for the vaporization of floating man-made objects.
Toshikazu Ebisuzaki, space expert at the European Space Agency and project manager, told the press during his latest interview on Monday, that scientists are working to create a laser cannon, which will later on, be integrated on ISS. The laser satellite was initially conceived to monitor the ultraviolet emissions, but Ebisuzaki thinks the cannon could have multiple other uses.
The laser satellite cannon will also be programmed to identify 1-cm small debris in space and vaporize it using laser rays. The junk materials will be directed towards the Earth’s atmosphere where they will eventually caught fire. The solution has been long sought by scientists as even the smallest particles from disintegrated rockets and spaceships can pose great risks for the International Space Station.
Many tests are now being carried out in order to identify possible flaws that the laser cannon might present. Moreover, additional features might later on be added, depending on the new ideas that might come to experts’ minds. Nevertheless, the team at the European Space Agency plans to install the laser cannon satellite on ISS by 2017.
Similar projects have been developed in the past by the renowned aeronautics administrations. Researchers have had other ideas related to outer space garbage disposal, but the most recent one involves a space junk net that could fish larger objects.
Junk fishing nets could, thus, get thrown into the outer space to capture flying garbage that is larger in volume and size. The trajectory of the flying net, however, is very hard to determine as a result of the lack of gravitation; therefore, many more tests will have to be performed in order to correctly determine how these nets will eventually function.
Image Source: Earth Cam