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Pop songs, talkback radio helping astronomers track harmful space junk

ANI | Last Updated: Sunday, December 1, 2013 - 11:53

Washington: Scientists have discovered a surprising new way to keep a check on space junk and prevent any catastrophic collisions with Earth - by using pop songs, talkback radio and highly advanced science.

The inaugural research headed by Curtin University in Australia, will use the newly operational Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), one of three precursor telescopes for the 2 billion dollars Square Kilometre Array project, to detect radio waves reflecting off thousands of objects orbiting the earth.

The study has already tracked radio waves from FM transmitters located near Perth and Geraldton bouncing off the International Space Station as it passed over WA, approximately 500 kilometers above the Earth`s surface.

Team leader Professor Steven Tingay, Director of the MWA and Chief Investigator in the Australian Research Council Center for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO) said that the MWA will be able to detect the space junk by listening in to the radio signals generated by stations including popular youth network Triple J.

Tingay explained that his team was able to detect about 10 pieces of space junk simultaneously and over time this means that they will be in a position to monitor a significant fraction of the space junk that is in Earth orbits.

According to Tingay, an early warning system has the potential to protect the billions of dollars` worth of vital infrastructure orbiting the Earth but also prevent collisions that will result in even more space debris being generated.

First Published: Sunday, December 1, 2013 - 11:52

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