International Space Station is going to get laser cannon soon to clean up space debris that could present a collision hazard.
With the development in technology many satellites and spacecrafts are sent into the orbit, and the possibility of collision of these objects with the space debris is increasing.
There may be large junk objects that could damage the space craft or satellite, but too small to be detected. They are posing great threat to ISS.
The Extreme Universe Space Observatory will be installed on Japan’s module of the ISS in 2017. This observatory can help the orbiting laboratory to detect the dangerous objects.
The laser which is in development will be installed to blast off the debris that could harm ISS.
Toshikazu Ebisuzaki at the Riken Computational Astrophysics Laboratory in Wako, Japan said, “The EUSO telescope, which was originally designed to detect cosmic rays, could also be put to use for this useful project. During twilight, thanks to EUSO’s wide field of view and powerful optics, we could adapt it to the new mission of detecting high-velocity debris in orbit near the ISS.”
Once the debris that could harm the satellite is detected, the laser will target the debris and vaporize material off its surface, thus creating a high speed jet to nudge the piece of space debris away from the station.
Currently to protect itself from the debris, ISS is given a nudge with its thrusters moving it out of the path of the debris, while the crew moves into a docked capsule that could return them safely to Earth if there is a serious collision.
The laser developed would be a coherent Amplification Network laser; it works by using a number of small lasers to create a single powerful beam.
This laser could deflect debris at ranged up to 60 miles; it is more than enough to keep the station out of harm.
Ebisuzaki said, “We may finally have a way to stop the headache of rapidly growing space debris that endangers space activities, we believe that this dedicated system could remove most of the centimeter-sized debris within five years of operation.”