Published On: Sun, Jun 10th, 2018

RT: Russia Developing Laser to Vaporize Space Junk

In an effort to make space exploration safer, the Russian space agency Roscosmos is developing a laser which can reduce space junk to vapor, according to a Russian Today report.

Space junk has become more and more problematic with the increase in satellites and more countries engaging in space travel, with NASA estimating there are about 500,000 pieces of space debris in the Earth's orbit. Most of it is the size of a marble, but 20,000 pieces are larger than "larger than a softball," per RT.

Even the smallest debris can damage satellites and space stations.

A three-meter optical telescope will have a "laser cannon" for testing, which can expanded to a larger laser if the research and development are successful, according to the report.

The laser is intended to heat the space junk "until it gradually evaporates," RT reported.

Other countries, including China, Australia, and Japan, have been working on the space junk problem, with Russia adopting China's plan to vaporize the debris as opposed to merely moving it.

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RT: Russia Developing Laser to Vaporize Space Junk