Visualisation of laser ranging from Mount Stromlo, Canberra at the EOS Space Research Centre. Credit: SERC

NEWS BRIEFING: Shooting space junk with lasers

Embargoed until: Publicly released:

*BRIEFING RECORDING NOW AVAILABLE* Firing lasers into space sounds like something straight out of science fiction, but scientists use lasers every day for tracking objects in space, measuring the atmosphere, and shooting space junk. And space junk is this year's hot topic; around 170 million pieces of man-made space debris ranging from the size of a bus to small flakes of paint are clogging up space around the Earth. Travelling at high speed, this debris endangers space services every day, threatening GPS, communication systems and atmospheric monitoring, not to mention astronauts. The upcoming 21st International Workshop on Laser Ranging (IWLR) 2018 will feature experts from all over the world discussing this very issue. Join us for a sneak peek into the latest in space lasers from a former NASA engineer, an award-winning professor of geophysics and a world leader in commercial space research.

Journal/conference: 21st International Workshop on Laser Ranging

Organisation/s: CRC for Space Environment Management

Media Briefing/Press Conference

From: Australian Science Media Centre


  • Dr Ben Greene is Group CEO of Electro Optic Systems, Space Environment Research Centre (SERC) Director and Chair of the SERC Research Management Committee
  • Professor Thomas Herring is a Professor of Geophysics in the Department of Earth Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge.
  • Associate Professor Moriba Jah is from the University of Texas at Austin and an independent member of the SERC Research Management Committee.

Date: Thursday 1 November 2018
Start Time: 10:00am AEDT
Duration: Approx 45 min 
Venue: Online


  • Space Environment Research Centre
    Web page
    21st International Workshop on Laser Ranging
  • Australian Science Media Centre
    Web page
    Link to briefing recording - playback
  • The University of Texas
    Web page
    Astria Graph from Moribah Jah's presentation

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