Russia is building a massive "laser cannon", but promises it will only be used for good.
Rather than pointing it at Ukraine or the White House, space agency Roscosmos says it'll be used to shoot down space debris, reported Russian news outlets RT and Sputnik.
There are an estimated 500,000 pieces of human-made rubbish floating in orbit, NASA estimates. About 5 percent of it larger is than a softball, including discarded satellites and broken rockets.
It's becoming an increasing problem for spacefaring, with even small items able to cause massive damage as they reach high speeds in orbit. Roscosmos estimates in about a century it will be nearly impossible to launch at all, if nothing is done to clean it up.
Its plan is to develop a 3m optical telescope which can not only find and track space junk, but zap it out of the sky. Objects it targets would be vaporised through a process known as laser ablation.
The company developing the laser, Precision Instrument Systems, confirmed it was developing the weapon but declined to comment further.
China is also developing a laser-based space junk removal system. Rather than vaporise debris, the Chinese plan is to nudge it closer to Earth, causing it to fall out of orbit and burn up in the atmosphere.
New Zealand-US company Rocket Lab's idea is to not make space junk in the first place by attaching drag sails to satellites.
"The reflective panels unfold to 2.5 square meters to increase the spacecraft's surface area, causing it to experience greater drag and pull the satellite back into the Earth's atmosphere, enabling much faster de-orbiting and reducing the amount of space junk," Rocket Lab founder Peter Beck said in May.
A Japanese attempt at space clean-up using long magnetised cables last year failed.