Speed Reads

can't be worse than the i-95

Air Force spends $7.5 million to research 'lunar traffic jams'

A new $7.5-million Air Force research initiative is exploring ways to prevent "lunar traffic jams" ahead of a new slate of manned missions to the moon, The Hill reported Wednesday.

The collaboration between the Air Force Research Laboratory and University of Arizona "will start by mapping the dozens of natural and human-made artifacts in the 'chaotic environment' of lunar orbit," The Hill reports.

Between the more than 50 missions to the moon planned for the next eight years and all the junk cluttering space, it's getting pretty crowded up there.

"The space debris problem is a mess," said Vishnu Reddy, an associate professor at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. "We've gone for 60-plus years of uncontrollably trashing everything in space, right? Imagine we had taken every car since the invention of the Model T, and every time the thing runs out of gas — you leave it to the side of the freeway and pick up a new car, wherever you drop it. That's what we've been doing to space."

The grant funds will be spent on spectroscopy experiments and AI tools that will enable the U.S. Space Force to more accurately identify and track objects orbiting the moon.