Ground-based device would use light to push debris off collision course
It won’t prevent Armageddon, but a simple ground-based laser system could nudge small pieces of space junk away from satellites to prevent collisions, a new study suggests.
The proposed system uses photons generated by a medium-power laser and aimed into space through a 1.5-meter telescope. The photons exert pressure on space debris in low-Earth orbit, gently pushing the objects aside rather than vaporizing them. Researchers have applied the same idea, using the pressure from sunlight, to propel spacecraft (SN: 8/21/99, p