Unfortunately, space exploration comes at a high price (not just money) and it is becoming easier to find space junk. A problem that seeks to minorize with prevention by finding it and now it seems it will be easier, since some researchers have achieved detect space junk in broad daylight by laser.
Until now, this technique had a rather small window of action since it depended on when these objects were illuminated (during twilight). With this new approach the door opens towards a more continuous crawl in order to find objects in low orbit that can be a risk.
Keep track of more than 1 million potentially dangerous objects
The space debris is a problem that we have been dragging on for more than 60 years and that it is a danger for other missionsIn fact, even the International Space Station had to evacuate because a fragment of an old Russian satellite threatened to collide with it. We already saw how shocking (pun intended) debris collisions in space could be, so space agencies have been tracking fragments for some time and with this new technique perhaps a little more light will be shed (again , never better said).
Those responsible have been researchers from the Space Research Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, who in addition to their own publication have their research in Nature. Thus, what Michael A. Steindorfer’s team has achieved is to develop a new procedure by which daylight does not limit laser object tracking, something unprecedented in this field as they explain.
The equipment in question combines several types of instruments, such as deflectors, telescopes and filters. The rationale is to shoot laser beams into space, which bounce off and are received at stations on land. Something similar to what we described just yesterday to monitor the ozone layer and the atmosphere in general from Antarctica.
By working with specific light lengths and being able to increase the contrast, with this system objects can be seen in full light as previously not possible, in addition Real time. In this case, it can also track small objects with an accuracy of around 1 meter, which according to the researchers is a higher precision than other radars.
The team is hopeful that with this technique the sky can be tracked more frequently and that the observation time is increased of space junk. Not surprisingly, among the researchers who have participated in this project we find Tim Flohrer, director of ESA’s space debris department, who explained that now they will be able to “work all day with lasers to do everything possible to avoid collisions” .
As we have already said on other occasions, the problem with garbage it is the power to eliminate it, which does not yet have clearly efficient solutions and sometimes the remedy is worse than the disease. Hence, it is so important that components are reused and have it located, although projects such as Starlink or Amazon are not too favorable. ESA itself speaks of around a million objects of more than one centimeter in orbit together with some 2,000 active and 3,000 inactive satellites, almost nothing.