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. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study
Fat guy? Drink or smoke? You're worse than a TERRORIST
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball
That's it for God, then – if Comet 67P has got complex molecules
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
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.
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.