Unfortunately, humans don’t just pollute the air, earth, and oceans. In our short time exploring outer space, we’ve also created a fair amount of space debris, which orbits our planet in a loose web.
According to MIT News, hundreds of millions of pieces of space debris are currently orbiting the earth every single day. From old paint chips to even prototype printed circuit boards, this debris has formed a cloud that moves throughout the atmosphere at approximately 17,500 miles per hour. At such fast speeds, a piece of debris the size of a pebble can destroy a floating spacecraft.
Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), along with NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense, have developed a new laser technique that can identify not only the exact location of this other space debris, but its actual contents as well.
The team of researchers are using ground-based telescopes and laser radar machines to track more than 17,000 objects floating in space to help prevent collisions with essential space machines and spacecrafts.
“In space, things just tend to break up over time, and there have been two major collisions over the last 10 years that have caused pretty significant spikes in debris,” said Michael Pasqual, a former graduate student in MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. “If you can figure out what a piece of debris is made of, you can know how heavy it is and how quickly it could deorbit over time or hit something else.”
Researchers believe that prototype printed circuit boards within the cloud of space debris could exhibit unique polarization effects. As far as the construction of prototype printed circuit boards, there are three major types: single-sided, double-sided, and multi-layered. For the multi-layered prototype PCBs, the internal layers are able to be dedicated to power distribution, which decreases the loop area and provides a major boost to Electromagnetic interference (EM), also called radio-frequency interference.
Hopefully, thanks to advanced technology and hardworking researchers, our space programs will be able to prevent future disasters and eventually eradicate this growing cloud of outer space debris. If you want to learn more about the PCB fabrication process, contact PCB Unlimited today!