- To help eliminate an estimated 3,000 tons of space rubbish, a panel of international scientists are developing a system to obliterate space debris using a fiber optic laser.
- The project leader, Toshikazu Ebisuzaki, noted that although the concept is different from a traditional “ground-based” approach, the proposed technique is seen as a more manageable approach that is accurate, inexpensive and fast.
- It is estimated that there’s more than 300,000 pieces of orbital waste floating around the Earth; this space waste poses a hazard to satellites and spacecraft.
Ebisuzaki said the fiber optic laser system has the potential to eliminate a majority of debris measuring a centimeter, or less within five years of operation.
The scientists used two main components- a fiber optic laser and a telescope that features a wide field of view. The telescope detects high-velocity fragments and alerts the laser, which shines an intense pulse of light onto the object. The debris is destroyed by intense heat that transforms the debris into plasma. The waste disintegrates into Earth's atmosphere.