China plans on using giant lasers to get rid of ‘space junk’
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China plans on using giant lasers to get rid of ‘space junk’

With numerous missions to explore space, mankind moves one step closer to knowing the secret of the origin of the universe. However, thanks to all these missions, a thick stream of space junk is covering our orbit filled with old satellites along and other relevant space debris. To deal with this issue, a team of researchers from China has come up with a very exciting solution that is one of the most feasible options developed so far.

Most of the space debris, even the ones far away, get attracted due to Earth’s gravitational force and hover around in its orbit. This accumulation of debris can be a potentially harmful issue if left unchecked. It can easily hit any future spaceships crossing Earth’s orbit or fall into the Earth causing injury to humans or wildlife. In the recent years, scientists from all over the world have been debating on the possibilities to remove this space junk and the one option suggested by China-based scientists seems to be the best one yet.

The scientists plan in blasting the junk hovering around the Earth’s orbit with a humongous laser which will help break down large pieces into small ones that won’t be threatening upon contact with spacecraft or while falling down on Earth.

A recent conducted previously by Lockheed Martin and many other scientists determined that these debris poses a grave issue when it comes to the present working satellites present in the orbit. To deal with this issue researchers have proposed solutions such as using giant magnets to draw out the debris or using space nets to sweep out the junk. However, none of these was an optimal solution.

With regards to this problem, a paper has been published by the scientists in China from the Air Force Engineering University which is named “Impacts of orbital elements of space-based laser station on small-scale space debris removal”. The title suggests that this paper is an in-depth layout of the potential use of gigantic laser machine to eliminate the big chunks of space debris.

In the abstract, the researchers stated that with this paper, the scientists investigated the in-depth impact of elements present in Earth’s orbit when operated upon by a laser space station to remove the junk hovering in space in a small scale by the use of numerical simulation. The researchers also analyzed various aspects such as orbital momentum, velocity variation and the orbit maneuver of space junk. Along with this the China-based scientists also looked out for the variations in orbital parameters, along with the inclination impact.

The paper was authored by Rui Hou, Yingwu Fang, Yi Wang, QuanWen, Shanghong Zhao, and Liwei Yang. Experts note that this could be an effective means of eradicating or breaking down the space debris, however, the consequences of building a laser-based space station on the surroundings are unknown as stated in the paper. The giant laser could be a weapon to be controlled by the superpower which could create a disharmony among various countries.