China’s bold proposal to zap space junk from Earth’s orbit with lasers

Since 1957, humans have been polluting the Earth’s orbit with bits of debris, known as space junk. There are currently around 20,000 fragments of space junk orbiting the Earth. Pieces of old satellites, used rocket stages and fragments from collision, erosion and disintegration are all floating up there, reaching speeds of up to 17,500 miles an hour.

Ideas for getting rid of this dangerous junk range from gathering it with giant nets to sending it out of Earth’s orbit using magnets.

But there’s a new proposal for how we could get rid of some of this junk – or at least make it more manageable. A team of researchers from China has come up with a plan to blast the debris into smaller, less harmful bits using a laser flying around Earth.

Read more on WIRED

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