Engineers Develop Lasers to Deflect Asteroids
Researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, are developing a suite of satellites armed with powerful lasers to change the course of asteroids that threaten Earth.
What's the Latest Development?
Engineers at a Scottish university are developing laser technology capable of saving all life on Earth should an errant asteroid threaten the planet. A swarm of space satellites flying in formation, cooperatively firing solar powered lasers onto their target, could be more effective than current designs for a single, unwieldy spacecraft. Dr Massimiliano Vasile, of Strathclyde University's Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering said: "The approach we are developing would involve sending small satellites, capable of flying in formation with the asteroid and firing their lasers targeting the asteroid at close range."
What's the Big Idea?
In the short term, the same laser technology could be used to clean up the potentially menacing field of space junk speeding around the planet above its atmosphere. Currently, the amount of space junk could create what is known as the Kessler syndrome, when "the density becomes so high that collisions between objects could cause an exponentially increasing cascade of other collisions." As human communication networks rely heavily on space satellites, any series of collisions could have far ranging consequences.
Photo credit: shutterstock.com
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
Even some teachers suffer from anxiety about math.
I teach people how to teach math, and I've been working in this field for 30 years. Across those decades, I've met many people who suffer from varying degrees of math trauma – a form of debilitating mental shutdown when it comes to doing mathematics.
She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.
- For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
- These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
- Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
The legacy of Felix Dzerzhinsky, who led Soviet secret police in the "Red Terror," still confounds Russia.
- Felix Dzerzhinsky led the Cheka, Soviet Union's first secret police.
- The Cheka was infamous for executing thousands during the Red Terror of 1918.
- The Cheka later became the KGB, the spy organization where Russia's President Putin served for years.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.