Scientists told how to clean the orbit from debris using lasers

© Photo : Roscosmos/Sergey Resuscitative on the International space stationScientists told how to clean the orbit from debris using lasers© Photo : Roscosmos/Sergei Ryazan

. Chinese engineers propose to launch a flotilla of satellites that will cleanse earth from space «space debris», firing at it with lasers and forcing him to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere, according to a paper published in the journal Optik.

Current estimates of scientists, the Earth’s orbit is present in approximately 18 thousand man-made objects whose position is known to NASA and other leading space agencies of the world. Not yet open to debris at times more – their total number exceeds 170 million, and a collision even with one of them could spell disaster for most satellites, the ISS and manned space vehicles.

The existence of this problem, scientists have known since the end of the space race. In 1978, Donald Kessler, a NASA scientist, showed that a further accumulation of debris in orbit and increase its density to create the conditions in which the collision of two such particles will cause a kind of «chain reaction» that will lead to the destruction of all satellites operating at the height of the ISS above.

Ho Rui (Rui Hou) and his colleagues from the Engineering University of air force China in Xian (China) propose to solve this problem by using a fleet of satellites equipped with laser «guns».

As scholars have noted, the large particles of space debris with dimensions of 10 centimeters and can be removed from the space is actually «manually» – their total number does not exceed 20 thousand, and the situation of the greater part of them are already known.

Such initiatives, according to the authors of the article had already been discussed by engineers and specialists from the space agencies. For example, two years ago, Japanese scientists proposed to set the laser on Board the module Kibo to the ISS to protect the station from micro-particles of space debris.

As I hope the authors, their calculations will help the authors of such projects to select the optimum laser and power source for the successful completion of such experiments.