Science Podcasts

Naked Astronomy episode

Thu, 13th Dec 2012

Dealing With Debris

Space Debris (c) NASA

How can we solve the space debris problem?  What will we learn from LOFAR?  This edition of Naked Astronomy comes from the RAL Space Conference at the STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratories.  We’ll explore the crossover between space science and medicine, catch up with Curiosity and find out how a new satellite helps to test the latest tech.

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In this edition of Naked Astronomy

Full Transcript

  • 01:02 - What are ultra-luminous X-ray sources?

    Research published just this week offers new solutions to a long-standing problem – What are ultra-luminous X-ray sources?

  • Curiosity's Sky Crane Maneuver, Artist's Concept (c) NASA/JPL-Caltech

    09:31 - Catching Up with Curiosity

    One of the most significant developments of 2012 was the successful deployment of the Curiosity rover. Dubbed “7 minutes of terror”, the landing of the rover employed a novel “sky crane” platform that lowered the rover to the ground while holding itself aloft on rockets. Rob M...

  • A meal on the ISS (c) NASA

    19:16 - Space and Medicine

    Conferences foster discussion and can lead to inter-disciplinary relationships, and it was perhaps with this in mind that the organisers invited Kevin Fong – a medical doctor and director of the Centre for Space Medicine at University College London, to speak about the interface...

  • TechDemoSat-1 during final module integration and test phase in SSTL's AIT hall, October 2012 (c) SSTL

    25:45 - Testing Technology with TechDemoSat

    How do you test tech in space? Finding a launch partner and designing & building a satellite is prohibitively expensive, so much of the technology that gets used in satellites is very well established. Testing new tech, therefore, is tricky. To get around some of these proble...

  • Space Debris (c) NASA

    32:17 - Dealing with Debris

    Space debris is becoming a problem. Orbit is fast becoming a dangerous place to be simply because of the number of bits of junk up there with you. And it’s not just the big objects like decommissioned satellites you need to worry about – due to their velocity, even tiny partic...

  • Radio antennas of the ITS (Initial Test Station) radio telescope in Exloo, Netherlands (c) Svenlafe @ Wikipedia

    43:34 - LOFAR - Looking Out at Low Frequencies

    The LOw Frequency ARray, LOFAR, is a radio telescope working at the lowest frequencies accessible from Earth. It features stations scattered across Europe, and started it’s official science programme this month...

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How big would a recovery satellite have to be?

Is it possible to make a super-efficient automated engine, say 100 kilos, or less that could attach onto a small piece of debris and destabilize the orbit?  Thus, one launch could send out multiple recovery modules, or perhaps it could be part of a different package.

Perhaps re-purpose booster modules to pick up a chunk of debris before returning to Earth. CliffordK, Sat, 22nd Dec 2012

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