字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント Hey guys! Matt here for Science or Fiction. Many countries have proposed developing giant lasers to shoot at things in space. No, this is not the plot of Austin Powers 4, these are real, honest-to-god plans hatched up by a group of scientists. The idea is that a massive laser would be used to zap space junk into such tiny pieces so that they will no longer pose a threat to important spacecraft like the International Space Station. But, would that even work? Are space lasers really a thing? Well, first, you might be wondering, what the heck is space junk? There are actually a couple of types. There's natural and unnatural kinds. The natural kind mostly refers to small meteors that orbit the sun. The unnatural kind, also known as orbital debris, includes any man-made object orbiting the Earth that no longer serves a useful function. This includes pieces of nonfunctional spacecraft, old rockets, abandoned launch vehicle stations, retired satellites, some dude in a Telsa/car etc. Now, many space agencies are trying to develop plans to deal with the debris because space junk is becoming a huge problem for their operations. And this shouldn't come as a big surprise given that humans have been sending all sorts of things up into the cosmos over the last 60 years. There are over 20,000 pieces of space junk larger than a softball currently orbiting Earth. There are well over 500,000 pieces of space junk that are the same size as a marble or larger, and millions upon millions of pieces that are much smaller. That said, even a super tiny piece of space junk could inflict serious damage on an active spacecraft, including the ISS, given that most of these morsels are traveling up to speeds of up to 17,500 mph. NASA first started to consider the option of a laser in 1996. The space agency teamed up with the U.S. Air Force on Project Orion, which suggested that a powerful laser could be used to vaporize surface material on space junk. If vaporized enough, the idea was that the objects would be taken out of orbit and come hurtling back to Earth, where they would burn up in the atmosphere. This proposal never became a reality because the laser would be so powerful that it could also have been considered a weapon, which wasn't likely to sit well with other countries. Since then, NASA has proposed using much less powerful lasers to do a similar job. In 2011, a team looked into using a system that would operate using photon momentum. Instead of one quick zap, this laser would use a much weaker light that would concentrate on one piece of junk for an hour or two over the course of multiple days. Still, this proposal has yet to become a reality. There have also been proposals for magnets that would be used to lure the pieces out of orbit. And (a group of) European engineers have recently developed a net with a harpoon to test the effectiveness of plucking debris out of orbit and sending it into the atmosphere to burn. But as lasers remain one of the more popular ideas, many still fear that the deployment of lasers could mean the militarization of space. Theoretically, a laser could also destroy functioning satellites from other countries, not only space debris. There are strict international treaties in place to prevent space militarization, which makes plans like this one very controversial. Whether or not space lasers ever become a reality, the plan is feasible. The U.S. and other countries definitely have the technology to carry it out. So while this laser scheme may seem like something out of a Star Wars or James Bond movie, it's real, and it could start within our lifetimes. For more epic stories of innovation that shaped our future check out THE AGE OF AEROSPACE.COM Speaking of something out of a James Bond movie, what happens when humans go really fast? Like, you know, how Bond does in those fancy cars and jets. Well, we talk about what G forces do to the human body in this video here. Make sure to check it out. And as always, please like and subscribe and keep coming back to Seeker for more videos.