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Europe plans to launch lens that can divert the path of debris particles into new orbits

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The station will be part of the European Optical Nucleus Network, which will be the first operational optical communication ground station service in which lasers would gently shove debris particles into new orbits, out of the way of potential collisions and away from the busiest orbital roads. This uses only a tenth of the energy used by an electric kettle. With the deployment of a big constellation of satellites like Starlink, tracking them will become a difficulty, as will managing the economics of preventing orbital collisions.

Andrea di Mira, ESA Optoelectronics Engineer said, “If lasers strike planes they can be very dangerous, as pilots can become distracted and in worst-case scenarios, lose control. We are very, very careful that this does not happen, with a set of sensors scanning the sky for aircraft to ensure our lasers do not get remotely close to them.”

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