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AI Battles the Bane of Space Junk

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Illustration of space debris orbiting Earth.

New simulations suggest the range of “space junk” cluttering low Earth orbit makes collisions 14 times as likely as in the next level up—medium Earth orbit.

Credit: iStock

Researchers are using artificial intelligence (AI) to track space debris, predict collisions, and devise methods for the debris’ removal and reuse.

A team led by Fabrizio Piergentili at Italy's Sapienza University of Rome developed a machine learning algorithm that tracks the rotational motion of space debris.

Researchers at the Air Force Institute of Technology also demonstrated how computer simulations can help predict satellite behavior.

Meanwhile, researchers at Italy's Roma Tre University trained a neural network on radar and optical data from ground telescopes to detect space debris in low Earth orbit.

However, the University of Texas at Austin's Moriba Jah warned about depending on AI; said Jah, "If the version of today that you feed it is limited, the prediction of tomorrow is also going to be limited."

From IEEE Spectrum
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Abstracts Copyright © 2023 SmithBucklin, Washington, D.C., USA


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