Wednesday August 03, 2016

Blowing Stuff Up in Space with Lasers

OK, that is a clickbait title fit for Gawker, but at least we can dream about blowing stuff up in space with lasers...attached to sharks. Anyway, lasers may actually be called into usage for "nudging" space debris around to keep it from impacting and damaging expensive coms and nav satellites.

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In "Laser-based removal of irregularly shaped space debris," Stefan Scharring, Jascha Wilken, and Hans-Albert Eckel of the German Aerospace Center describe a new approach in applying laser-induced damage principles where using high-energy laser pulses modify the orbit of debris and push it into the atmosphere, causing it to burn up.