Feeds

Space-junk RAYGUN wins Australian government funding

Plan calls for lasers to nudge junk into fall-to-earth orbits

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

A proposal to use lasers to clean up space junk is a step closer to reality, courtesy of $AUD20 million of Australian government funding.

Led by EOS Space Systems (based at Australia's Mount Stromlo, home of one of the country's major observatories), the collaborators will start small, developing lasers that are able to identify and track space junk.

As noted by the Australian National University's Professor Matthew Colless in the university's announcement: “There are hundreds of thousands of pieces of space junk in orbit that are big enough to do serious damage to a satellite or space station.”

Over time, the group (whose other members include Lockheed Martin, the NASA Ames Research Centre, Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, Australian telco Optus and Melbourne's RMIT University) hopes to give the lasers more grunt.

However, their aim isn't to make the laser into the death-ray beloved of sci-fi fans. Rather, as CEO of EOS Space Systems' space business Professor Craig Smith told Vulture South last year, “To move an object 100 meters over a 24 hour period we need to apply an amount of energy equal to about the solar radiation pressure (ie sunlight) for five to ten minutes.”

EOS group CEO Dr Ben Greene told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation the company is now tracking 10 per cent of known space junk, and hopes that figure will rise to 50 per cent within five years. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.