Australia's newest radioastronomy project is helping to detect potentially lethal space junk, according to an eminent scientist.
The Murchison Widefield Array in the Mid West went into "full science" mode two months ago and will soon be peering back in time to image the first stars and galaxies that formed after the Big Bang.
It will also play a role in detecting and tracking space junk in Earth's orbit.
"In the past few decades, we've launched more and more rockets and satellites into Earth's orbit and it's getting crowded up there - a dangerous place to be if you're a satellite," MWA director Steven Tingay said yesterday. "We hope to slot this into Australia's overall capabilities."
Professor Tingay said the MWA, a precursor to the international Square Kilometre Array project, could detect objects half a metre in size as far as 1000km away.