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It may sound like science fiction but an Australian team is working on a project to zap orbital debris with lasers from Earth to reduce the growing amount of space junk that threatens to knock out satellites with a “cascade of collisions”.

The project is very realistic and likely to be working in the next 10 years, Matthew Colless, director of Australian National University’s Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, told Reuters.

“It’s important that it’s possible on that scale because there’s so much space junk up there,” he said. “We’re perhaps only a couple of decades away from a catastrophic cascade of collisions ... that takes out all the satellites in low orbit.”

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