Laser broom

From Academic Kids

A laser broom is a proposed ground-based laser beam-powered propulsion system whose purpose is to sweep space debris out of the path of the International Space Station.

It is designed to target debris between 1 and 10 cm in diameter. Even small-sized debris can cause considerable damage in extremely high-speed collisions. It is believed that the Mir station was struck by such debris on at least one occasion.

Proposed initial trials will use low power because of concerns about inadvertently contravening an international weapons treaty banning laser weapons in space (see Outer Space Treaty).

One laser broom project is named Project Orion, not to be confused with the spacecraft propulsion project named Project Orion.

Further Reading

  • 2000 Earth Orbital Debris - NASA Research on Satellite and Spacecraft Effects by World Spaceflight News, CD-ROM: 862 pages ISBN 1893472280

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