Scientists Want to Put a Space Cannon on the ISS
More accurately, scientists from the Riken Research Institute in Tokyo are proposing a laser system that can be attached to the International Space Station to help detect and eliminate any space debris that is still orbiting around Earth.
Using the technology from the Extreme Universe Space Observatory’s (EUSO) super-wide-field telescope, they posit that they could track and detect any debris. Once some junk has been tracked, high-efficiency fiber lasers will fire, but not to disintegrate the debris, but to push it into the atmosphere for it to burn up on reentry.
According to Toshikazu Ebisuzaki, the chief scientist at Riken’s Computational Astrophysics Laboratory and head of the space debris research team:
“Our proposal is radically different from the more conventional approach that is ground based, and we believe it is a more manageable approach that will be accurate, fast, and cheap.”
This is great considering that most space junk is orbiting around us at around 17,000 miles an hour, which makes it pretty dangerous (more so than it is even without space junk) for space-bound vessels, especially those carrying people. Everyone remember that one scene from Wall-E? Yeah, it would be great to not have that in our future.
Also, to be clear, the space laser is not going to be like the Death Star mk2. The Death Star was more known for CREATING space debris (both with its cannon and its tendency to… you know… blow up).