A group of Chinese scientists have offered to blast the space junk out of the orbit of our beloved planet Earth and wants to create a space laser station. On behalf of the Air Force Engineering University of China, the researchers have come forward with the proposal to counter the growing threat that the accumulated junk increasingly lurks upon us.
Alongside the collective garbage on earth, its orbit is similarly full of old and unused satellites and other objects that together make up the ‘space junk.’ Be it because of our explorations in space, or the natural objects that gather around the orbit by earth’s gravitational pull since its inception, the massive junk must be taken care of.
Numerous missions in the past years have been set to collect and remove it from orbit, and the latest addition by Chinese scientists looks like the most productive solution so far. Blasting off the large debris from the orbit by using giant lasers is feasible with the aim to reduce threats as much as possible, not just for us inhabitants but also for our satellites that are presently active.
Solutions like drawing old satellites out of orbits by magnets, or using space nets for sweeping and collecting debris, and more, have never reached optimum levels before. As for the newest resolve, our defenders in disguise of scientists from the Chinese institute came up with a paper titled: “Impacts of orbital elements of space-based laser station on small-scale space debris removal.”
An excerpt from the abstract highlights the main points to consider: “This paper investigated the impacts of orbital elements of space-based laser station on small-scale space debris removal by numerical simulation. The orbital momentum models of small-scale space debris and space-based laser station were established. The velocity variation of the space debris ablating by the space-based laser station was analyzed, and the orbit manoeuvre of the space debris irradiated by laser station was modelled and studied. The variations of orbital parameters of the space debris orbit respectively without and with irradiation of high-power pulsed laser were simulated and analyzed, and the impacts of the inclination and right ascension of ascending node (RAAN) of the space-based laser station on debris removal were analyzed and discussed.”
The authors of the paper are Liwei Yang, Quan Wen, Rui Hou, Changhong Zhao, Yi Wang, and Yingwu Fang. They further noted the results from their research: “The simulation results show that debris removal is affected by inclination and RAAN, and laser station with the same inclination and RAAN as debris has the highest removal efficiency. It provides the necessary theoretical basis for the deployment of space-based laser station and the further application of space debris removal by using a space-based laser.”
While it is clear that this will help eradicate threats from space junk, building a laser station in space is no cakewalk. After the successful implementations (that doesn’t yet have a signified timeline), the proposed space weapon is to be controlled by a global superpower!
Let this weapon be wielded by our deserving defenders who can ideally increase the health of our beautiful earth for the generations to come, envisioning centuries ahead.