Feeds

Space-junk RAYGUN wins Australian government funding

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

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
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
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
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 cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.