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How to track small space junk

How to track small space junk

A piece of space junk that punctured the hull of NASA’s Solar Max spacecraft (Orbital Debris Program Office).

There are a lot of things in orbit around Earth Space junk. Debris resulting from the disintegration of satellites and scrap metal of various sizes. This congestion is a big problem Collision These pieces of space debris can in turn damage other satellites and, worse, endanger manned missions.

At a typical orbital speed of 35,400 kilometers per hourA piece of space debris the size of a feather could hit another object with the same energy as a car hitting it on the highway, potentially destroying a satellite.

Furthermore, space debris frequently collides with each other, breaking up larger pieces into smaller, undetectable pieces, and it is thought that the amount of space debris may grow exponentially as individual pieces continue to collide, eventually leading to Chaos on infrastructure We rely on GPS, cell phone data, weather tracking, and more. So to them tracking very important.

And when they collide, each other does evaporates into an electrically charged gas, Due to the heat generated by the collision, as the cloud of charged gas and debris fragments expand, they create lightning-like explosions of energy. When parts are close enough together, they can create Electrical impulses Which only last a fraction of a second, but can help track down pieces of space debris and pull out the microscopic fragments that form when debris collides with each other.

For example, when two pieces of aluminum collide at typical orbital velocities, they emit an electrical flash strong enough to be detected from Earth by 26 meter dish With high quality radio receiver.

But as objects get smaller, it becomes harder to see reflected sunlight or radar signals strong enough to detect them from Earth. So far, objects larger than a softball are the only traceable pieces of this space junk, accounting for less than 1% of approximately 170 million pieces of garbage Remaining from defunct rocket launches, spacewalks and satellites.

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However, the new method is able to detect debris Its diameter is less than one millimeter. These findings are among the first from a larger collaborative project funded by the Space Debris Identification and Tracking Program. Activity of winning research projects Led by military contractor Blue Halo and the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Although there is still a lot to be done about this, and the frequency of the electrical signals can vary depending on the speed of the collision and the material that the debris is made of, although the electrical signals must be stronger than the background signals for the device to be detected and passed through. The Earth’s upper atmosphere, and the foundations have been laid to begin observing the large mass of debris and metal particles present in orbit, and studies aim to detect an increasingly diverse range of electrical signals, generated during space debris collisions. , which may lead to more than that where Space debris, but also How to appear Hoda What it is made of.