The ole BS detector is overheating on this story.
A quick Google search reveals that this story has been picked up by every major news outlet in the free world. From Australia to Zimbabwe, the headline blares that Energia is developing an orbital pod which will push space debris into a decaying orbit. It will, they breathlessly report, run on nuclear-powered ion drives.
Of course it will.
And it will convert dark matter into tasty, tasty Skittles.
The outlet which "Roscosmos" used to announce this groundbreaker? A Facebook page administered by a couple of French citizens who happen to be space fans. The Facebook page contained just a few sentences and cited no official sources regarding the story. Contrary to what many, many major news outlets are reporting, this Facebook page is in no way an "official" Roscosmos page, and a 10-second investigation could have helped them determine that.Being somewhat of a giant dork, I am a not-infrequent visitor to the Roscosmos website. After reading this story on CBS News, I realized I hadn't seen anything about it from the, ya know, Russians, so I went over to Roscosmos and searched for "space debris", "space junk", "energia", and several other keywords to no avail.
Their last news item mentioning space junk? January of 2010, when Yuri Makarov represented Russia at the perfectly boring annual meeting of the International Committee on Space Debris. There is nothing on Energia's website. A search for news on Interfax or anywhere else which does not use the Facebook source is circuitous and futile. I don't know - news like that? You'd think it'd be on Energia's homepage, not just on a private Facebook page. You'd think they'd be (justifiably) bragging about it on every news station.
If true (ahem), fantastic. I believe space debris is the most pressing space-related issue today.
If the Frenchies just punked the worldwide media, zut alors and sacre bleu!