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Space laser

A while back, I was thinking of a space laser. No, not one which looks down at the earth but one that looks up at the heavens. So you don't need to worry. You don't. Really. Don't!

Anyway, the point was to build a microwave laser satellite with the ability to shoot high powered laser beams at nearby planets, comets, asteroids or meteors. No, it won't be strong enough to blow up potentially life-threatening asteroids hurtling towards earth (sorry) but it is supposed to be strong enough to burn/ionize/vaporize a part of the surface. The whole point of the laser was to study the composition of these objects. Currently, studying the albedo of an object is the one way to understand it's composition (surface and atmospheric). Albedo is the amount of light reflected off the surface+atmosphere of an object. This gives us a good idea of the object's composition. And i thought that it might be better if we vaporize bits of the surface so we can study it better.

But i forgot to take into account one of the biggest source of energy in the solar system, our unrelenting sun! Even in the microwave region, the sun is an extremely strong source of energy. In fact, it is common knowledge that comets have tails. These tails are made up of the comet's particles that were evaporated off it's surface due to solar radiation. Well, solar radiation + solar wind (a strong flux of particles that emanates from the sun in in all directions, primarily neutrinos). So I dont think that we can build a space laser that can beat the sun in terms of luminosity. It was supposed to be powered by the sun. It was meant to be a pulsed laser, in order to give enough time for the laser to build up energy. It was supposed to operate in a narrow region of the microwave window so as to penetrate any atmosphere without getting reflected or attenuated. It was meant to be on a solar orbit beyond mars so that it is closer to the asteroid belt between mars and jupiter. But no matter what, I don't think we can make a space laser that's strong enough. I need to do some back of the hand calculations. I need to get used to making back of the hand calculations and do them fast...

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