- NASA researchers suggest that nearly 3,000 tons of space debris reside in low-Earth orbit, including derelict satellites, rocket bodies and parts and tiny bits of wreckage produced by collisions involving larger objects. Impacts from pieces of junk that are only the size of screws can still inflict catastrophic damage on satellites.
- Once EUSO detects incoming space junk, the researchers suggest, a Coherent Amplification Network (CAN) laser can then blast the debris. The CAN laser consists of many small lasers working together to generate a single powerful beam. This device is currently under development to drive particles at high speeds in atom smashers.
- A full-scale version of their system would be armed with a 100,000-watt ultraviolet CAN laser that can fire 10,000 pulses per second, each lasting one-tenth of one-billionth of a second. The researchers say this system could blast debris from a range of about 60 miles (100 kilometers), and the laser would need about 17 lbs. (8 kilograms) of lithium-ion batteries.
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