It's a junkyard out there. Researchers estimate that at least several hundred thousand pieces of space debris are stuck out in orbit around the planet, creating hazards for satellites and spacecraft. These pieces include everything from stray bolts to entire derelict satellites. If only we could blast them with lasers and take care of the problem. Oh wait, maybe we can.
The Australian government announced a $20 million Cooperative Research Centre that will investigate using lasers to locate, track, and remove space debris. The group will bring together partners from the government, academia, and aerospace industries. A total estimated investment of around $90 million is needed to bring the project to fruition. NASA's Ames Research Center and Lockheed Martin are already on board.… Read more