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An AI-driven space debris-dodging system developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) could soon replace expert teams that deal with huge amounts of orbital collision threats as more and more junk is released into the near-Earth environment. Because there are currently at least five times as many close encounters with objects in orbit than these teams monitor and evaluate, it requires agencies to hire a multi-disciplinary team to work over the clock and prevent these collisions.

To tackle this problem, the ESA is currently working on developing an Artificial Intelligence system that would take care of space debris hitting spacecrafts and satellites by predicting the evolution of a collision risk whenever an alert shows up. The AI replicates the decision process of the current expert teams and successfully conducts the collision avoidance maneuver, but there is deeper learning to be developed to improve the accuracy of the algorithms.

For now, the existing AI algorithms can help the ground-based teams to evaluate and monitor each collision warning and start reducing the number of experts involved as well as dealing with the increased orbital traffic more quickly.

As companies such as SpaceX and Amazon are building huge networks of thousands of satellites, space agencies around the world should follow the ESA’s initiative and develop more ways to keep their satellites and even astronauts safe from harm.

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Space Junk