Pop music finally put to good use tracking space junk
(Credit: Murchison Widefield Array)
The station is among FM broadcasters whose signals are bouncing off decaying satellites and other debris and into the giant “ear” that is the Murchison Widefield Array in Western Australia.
The high sensitivity of the radio telescope launched earlier this year allows it to detect objects smaller than 1 meter (3.2 feet), according to its director Steven Tingay of Curtin University. Tingay wants to use the array to improve knowledge of the thousands of bits of scrap that may threaten working satellites.
FM radio transmitters send waves over the Earth but also into space, where they bounce off satellites and space junk. Some of those waves get reflected back to Earth.