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Questions tagged [laser]

Questions regarding devices which emit focused beams of electromagnetic energy.

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How soon after “The Eagle” landed did they first attempt to bounce a laser off the Moon? When did it first succeed?

The question When did Houston figure out where the Eagle had landed? says (in part): During Apollo 11's stay on the surface, Michael Collins was given seven different locations to look for the ...
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How to get an initial setting of the range gate for a Lunar Laser Ranging using a new Retro Reflector for the first time?

From an answer to this question They were searching by aiming their laser at the moon and looking for reflections. But the system is set to only detect photons in a very narrow range of ...
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Could outer system probes detect lasers shone at them from earth (orbit)?

Does the Voyager spacecraft have instruments capable of detecting laser light if shone at them? New Horizons certainly does. Any other probes? Is there any laser capable of accuracy and power enough ...
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Could we use a narrow paradigm, say laser, to get info faster from New Horizons? (With a moon base.)

There was just a question (actually, on Astronomy) about why the data rate from New Horizons is low. Of course, even with the most directional radio antennas, the spread is enormous. I guess ...
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Could a laser ablation-based propulsion system really accelerate an object to 0.001 c?

Comments below this answer suggests that a laser ablation-based propulsion system, where the laser is separate from the object to be accelerated, could accelerate an object to about 1/1000 of the ...
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Is pinging the Moon with a laser as shown on “The Big Bang Theory” possible?

In an episode of season 3 of The Big Bang Theory, the cast sends a laser pulse to the Moon. This seems to be a real thing: What Neil & Buzz left on the Moon (2004). My questions are: Could ...
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How would a laser “shoot down” space junk?

This question links to an article describing a ground-based laser designed for shooting down orbiting space debris: "The scientists intend to use the massive soon-to-be-built telescope at the Altay ...
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Feasible to use lasers / concentrated light to power solar cells in our solar system?

I was watching a video on Youtube which criticized Elon Musk's idea to use solar power to power the space craft at long distances from the sun such as Saturn. That got me thinking whether it would be ...
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Laser communication for interplanetary probes - aiming is impossible without beacon?

Laser communications are considered very promising for interplanetary probes because of potentially much higher data rates. I found that laser communication at large distances (over 3 a.u. ~ 450 ...
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Attitude requirements for inter-satellite laser communication

Previous questions have address the beam divergence angles and the expected signal attenuation for laser communication between spacecraft. However, I was wondering what is a typical receiver aperture ...
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Is it possible to extend high speed data transmission with lasers to the distance Earth to Mars?

Data transmission using an optical laser between ground station and a GEO satellite may offer very high data rates, up to 1.8 GBit/s for instance. But what about a transmission from Earth to Mars ...
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Could the moons of Jupiter or Saturn be heated to human-friendly temperatures?

I always loved the part in 2001 where Jupiter becomes as star. Has anyone ever suggested placing power generating stations high in the atmosphere of gas giants, and beaming the energy to colonies on ...
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Would laser and beamed energy anti satellite weapons cause much space debris?

Laser and other beamed energy weapons, in orbit or from Earth, could potentially make their targets malfunction from overheating and perhaps even partial melting. Would this be a way of space warfare ...
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Why would “Breakthrough Starshot” need photon thrusters?

Found here (italics added, bold in source): Nanocrafts are gram-scale robotic spacecrafts comprising two main parts: StarChip: Moore’s law has allowed a dramatic decrease in the size of ...
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Is it possible for small satellites to orbit in MEO or GEO?

I am researching satellite technology, and in particular I am looking at the rise and implications of smallsat technology. As far as I know, there are currently no satellites beyond LEO that would be ...
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A laser can propel a spacecraft to 20% of light speed, time shorter on spacecraft?

So I recently learned about a project about using lasers on Earth to propel a spacecraft to 20% of light speed for interstellar traveling. So this brings an interesting question, how much shorter ...
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Breakthrough Starshot's 100 Gigawatt laser array - what's the current thinking how this might work?

In the article Breakthrough Starshot tricks out massive telescope for planet hunting there is casual mention of a "phased array of lasers in the 100GW range" that will propel a gram scale spacecraft ...
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1answer
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Deorbit LEO debris with a higher orbit laser?

A couple of days ago I asked Can a laser be used to clear the launch path of a rocket? turns out this is not a good plan but the answer by Hobbes suggests the idea of clearing debris with a laser is ...
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Can a laser be used to clear the launch path of a rocket?

Military grade lasers shooting down incoming missiles have been in the news since Ronald Reagan was the US president. The problems, as I recall are mostly about diffusion in atmosphere. The Kessler ...
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1answer
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How accurate can near earth asteroids be tracked?

To get more statistical significance for the suspected flyby-anomaly (or to refute it), it would be desirable to track as many hyperbolic earth flybys to within 1mm/s as we can get. Can we track ...
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Characteristics of the inter-satellite optical link

I'm currently diving into this topic and as I understand from the brief search there are two main types of inter-satellite link: radio and optical. As I can see, one of the main distinction of optical ...
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How does QUESS, China's quantum communications satellite experiment, relay entangled signals?

China launched the Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS) on the satellite called MOZI or Micius today, which will be used for quantum communications between China and Europe. Popular Science ...
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Are we actually that close to techniques of accelerating probes to speeds like a quarter $c$?

As recent research has been started by a team around Stephen Hawking under the name Breakthrough Starshot they are going for accelerating little probes up to 0.2~0.25$c$. There isn't that much ...
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Can you launch a probe to the Moon using a laser propelled craft?

Take a very light object, propel it with a laser source on Earth at a constant acceleration. Can this object reach the Moon? Could this be more reliable than a rocket? (supposing solar panel energy ...
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What are these structures on the Lunar Ranging Retro Reflector (LRRR) arrays for?

In this question I used images of the retro-reflector arrays that were left on the moon by Apollo 11, 14, and 15. The Lunar Ranging Retro Reflectors (LRRRs) are there for Lunar Laser Ranging. The ...
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laser propulsion from a lagrange point? [closed]

Simply put, would it make sense to place laser in space to propel a solar sail? Thinking about solar sails, and the inefficiencies of sending a laser through the atmosphere, I wondered if it made ...
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Does any satellite communicate only through laser?

I have read (here) and heard (on astronomy podcast) that radio waves decay or are indistinguishable the more distance they travel. Do any of man made satellites communicate with Earth solely by ...
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Doing an experiment to fire a laser to moon and back

After reading this question: I got an itch to to test out the mirrors myself (and maybe record whole process to irritate conspiracy nuts). What equipment would I need? I assume a high powered laser ...
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What's the current timeline for NASA's Mars orbiter laser communications?

Dr. Jim Green, Director, NASA Planetary Science Division, mentioned during his "The Martian": Science Fiction & Science Fact talk for the 18th Annual International Mars Society Convention (you can ...
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Can't we use laser transmitters instead of large radio dishes on deep space probes?

Isn't it possible to use a laser as an "antenna" that transmits data? This would save quite a lot of mass since you don't need a large dish. The only problem I can think of is how would you modulate ...
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Boeing US pat. 9,068,562: inertial confinement fusion engine (D-T pellet gun)

A team of Boeing employees (Budica/Herzberg/Chandler 1) have patented an inertial confinement fusion engine (the basic principle going back to C.D.Orth's VISTA from 1999 and Rod Hyde's 1983 ICF ...
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Power requirements for zapping debris with lasers from ISS

My understanding is that the ISS provides 75-90 kWatts of power, so enough power for a 1 second Megawatt pulse for zapping debris in about 15 seconds. Question is: is this right, have I over looked ...
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Technological challenges in substituting EO Satellites X-band downlinks with laser downlinks?

The majority of Earth Observation satellites, whether for meteorology or land analysis, downlink their data in the X-Band to either government-run or privately-owned ground stations. In Europe, the ...
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Is it feasible for a future Rosetta type mission to use wireless transfer of power to Philae?

While listening to the latest updates it seems like there is a limited 60 hour battery capacity left for Philae. There seems to be some information on the web on wireless power transfer using lasers. ...
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How much power loss does the LLCD suffer in transit?

Space.com writes to say (freeform improved quote): The LLCD (Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration) space terminal is designed to beam data from the moon at a rate six times faster than the best ...
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Laser propulsion possible?

Is it possible to get an impulse, if you shoot at a solar sails with lasers mounted on the spaceship? If so, why doesn't a laser create a force, if it fires/releases a photon? Is the impulse ...