Adaptive optics for tracking space debris

The greatest threat to the space environment is the proliferation of space debris, creating the risk of collisions with satellites and the potentially permanent contamination of space by runaway collisions known as the "Kessler Syndrome". Adaptive Optics (AO) is a technique used to restore space-like imaging conditions for ground-based optical systems by correcting atmospheric turbulence disturbances in real-time.

The Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics (RSAA) in collaboration with Electro Optic Space Systems (EOS) have developed a demonstrator which improves space debris tracking with the use of AO. This project gives students the opportunity to contribute to the important work currently underway at RSAA. The project will look at techniques for improving tracking and ranging of space debris using adaptive optics. There are many areas under this project the student can explore, such as designing optical and mechanical components, data reduction and image processing, control systems, and theoretical simulations.

The students will have the opportunity to work with the adaptive optic system currently installed on the EOS 1.8 m telescope, and work with world leading instrument scientists and engineers in the Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre (AITC) at Mount Stromlo. Some experience in at least two of the following disciplines is highly desired: optics/optical engineering, system engineering, instrumentation, control systems, computer science, image analysis, physics.