It is difficult to imagine a world without satellite communication. The internet, TV, radio, GPS and most telecommunications as we know it. The ever-increasing number of Earth-orbiting spacecraft produce a dramatic rise in the risk of suffering damage from space debris. Space debris is any man-made objects in orbit that no longer has a useful purpose.
The UM academics have developed a concept through which upon impact, thermal sensors measure the rise in temperature in the material, from which the kinetic energy can be worked back. This allows to quantify the level of damage suffered by the shield. The state of the satellite’s mission can also be established. This technique has never been explored before, due to difficulties related to the complexity of the phenomenon.
As with all research, the quest to answer one question often results in new ones being generated, and which remain unanswered. What is certain is that this experiment is an important milestone, and an important step for further collaboration between the University of Malta, the University of Oxford and University of Padova in the field of space research.