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Russian scientist: it’s senseless to use nuclear weapons to fight space junk

February 15, 2016, 13:12 UTC+3 YEKATERINBURG

The scientist compared use of nuclear weapons against space junk with the use of a steam-hammer to crack nuts

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YEKATERINBURG, February 15. /TASS/. It is senseless to use nuclear weapons to fight the fragments of space debris, Director of the Astronomy Institute, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences and Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Boris Shustov told TASS on Monday.

"Now specialists are considering a lot of methods to fight space junk, including those with the use of nuclear weapons. But it is senseless and completely unnecessary. It is like using a steam-hammer to crack nuts. That is why, scientists are actively developing new methods, from netting to using lasers," he said.

Humankind may lose access to the near space in the imminent future, if the problem of space junk is not resolved, the scientist warned.

"We have brought such a number of artificial objects into orbit that we may lose access to outer space in 10-20 years. These objects constantly collide, creating a multitude of new dangerous fragments, which makes things worse," the Astronomy Institute head said.

According to data of the Central Research Institute for Machine-Building (TsNIIMASh), about 750 million artificial objects may be staying in the Earth’s orbit and, out of this number, Russian specialists can discern only about 17,000, of which 1,361 are operational space vehicles and the rest is space debris.

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