Questions tagged [laser]

Questions regarding devices which emit focused beams of electromagnetic energy.

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1answer
1k views

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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1answer
443 views

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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Why is the Aeolus space laser losing power so quickly?

The BBC News article Aeolus: Wind-mapping space laser is losing power says that Europe's Aeolus satellite was launched last year to gather data to improve weather forecasts, and its observations have ...
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4answers
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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 ...
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Do the latest Starlink satellites use inter-satellite laser communications?

Do the latest (as of Jan 30, 2020) Starlink satellites use inter-satellite laser communications? I can't find any info about that!
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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 ...
9
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1answer
407 views

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 ...
5
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316 views

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 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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366 views

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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1answer
266 views

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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324 views

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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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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363 views

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 ...
5
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1answer
298 views

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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555 views

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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Are there any possible proxies for dust accumulation on the retroreflectors on the moon?

New York Times' How Do You Solve a Moon Mystery? Fire a Laser at It links to the new open access paper First two-way laser ranging to a lunar orbiter: infrared observations from the Grasse station to ...
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2answers
641 views

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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108 views

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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1answer
106 views

Would an incandescent light bulb be more efficient than a laser for photon propulsion?

In an incandescent light bulb pretty much almost all of the input power is radiated as photons. While perhaps 10% of the power is useful for human vision and the rest are longer wavelengths, it's all ...
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59 views

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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1answer
250 views

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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How many (presumably friendly) lasers are being shot at us from space?

A comment below @A.Rumlin's answer to Is there any spacecraft that is ping-able? links to a Facebook page (in Russian) which shows an astrophotographer's photograph of stars plus a big green flare ...
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Why does LRO's laser altimeter telescopes use lenses instead of mirrors?

From Space.com's NASA's Piggyback Experiment on Israeli Moon Lander Could Aid Future Lunar Touchdowns shows an image of the laser altimeter on the LRO. It looks like the "transmit" and "...