Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Space Australia Earth Science Technology

Aussie Lasers To Stop Satellite Collisions, Death 84

bennyboy64 writes "An Australian company is developing a laser tracking system that will help prevent collisions between satellites and space debris, ZDNet reports. 'The trouble is it's [debris] in orbit and travelling at orbital speeds, which means that it is travelling at about 30,000 kilometres an hour," said the CEO of the Australian company. 'If even a tiny little piece runs into a satellite it'll destroy it or punch a hole through a person if they're out there space walking.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Aussie Lasers To Stop Satellite Collisions, Death

Comments Filter:
  • by c0lo ( 1497653 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @11:20PM (#32922784)

    It seems to me the relative velocities would be small.

    If the trajectories are sort-of aligned, which doesn't need to be. I think you can imagine two bodies orbiting in opposite senses or on polar/equatorial orbits: the problem of resolving the relative velocity is left as a homework.

  • Not at All (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MacGyver2210 ( 1053110 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @11:36PM (#32922858)

    "track space junk and sell the data it collects to satellite owners and companies like NASA"

    So, basically, it doesn't *do* anything. They use it like...oh, a telescope or something, and then *sell* their observations.

    Yippee. Shouldn't a project funded by federal grants not be eligible to sell their findings but be required to provide them freely to the public? Seems a little wrong to me.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @11:51PM (#32922934) Journal
    Lasers of that power are certainly more expensive than the lower-power tracking variety; but I suspect that the major stumbling block would be political.

    There are, for instance, a number of influential entities with rather expensive satellites continually exposing fancy CCDs through even fancier optics. A laser powerful enough to blow vapor off of space junk, focused through the sort of optics used in ground surveillance satellites, shining on a piece of silicon specifically designed to be light sensitive. Yeah, that'd make the National Reconnaissance Office really happy...

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.