Darpa Enlists Amateur Astronomers To Track Space Junk

Tracking the thousands of tiny objects cluttering up Earth's orbit is becoming an expensive proposition for the military. To save money and improve their coverage, they're soliciting help from amateur astronomers worldwide.

The DARPA-funded SpaceView project hopes to organize the astronomy community into an extension of the U.S. Air Force’s own sky-watchers, the Space Surveillance Network. There are estimated to be around half a million bits of space junk in orbit, but even with 29 space-monitoring sensors at their command, the Space Surveillance Network can only track the biggest 30,000 or so.

Deploying a dozen more sensor arrays and facilities would be expensive, so they're outsourcing junk tracking — to pretty much anyone who wants to help. Lt. Col. Travis Blake, the Air Force officer overseeing the program, explains on the SpaceView website:

There is an untold amount of potential in the amateur astronomy community that we hope to use to broaden our situational awareness in space. SpaceView should provide more diverse data from different geographic locations to ensure we have a robust understanding of the current and future state of our space assets.

Home astronomers will be given access to "high-quality astronomical hardware," and in return would handle the operation and housing of the gear. When it's not being used for tracking bits of fast-moving space trash, the government gear could be used for whatever its caretaker wanted: photography, observation, or teaching, for example.  Read more at

Hiddenheart101 Hiddenheart101
56-60, F
1 Response Nov 29, 2012

An interesting story. Now, I was wondering why couldn't something be done about Nibiru while it was so very far away from us like fifty or so years ago when it was first spotted? Maybe a shrink ray type thing? I sound stupid but I can't believe we have been waiting for this star to enter our solar system and destroy our precious home we call Earth.

I Think HAARP has the capability.but dont quote me on that.