“More important than cleaning space, now there is nothing at all”

– It is clear that it is very difficult to create some form of “iron”, some form of experimental installation in Russia. We, I mean our school at the Department of Theoretical Mechanics, have a favorable position in that we have access to most scientific journals in the world, there is no need to buy each article for 30-40 euros, we have all modern mathematical packages. And then we are no longer dependent on anyone: we present new ideas, mathematically support future assignments, publish our results and participate in conferences. When it comes to hardware, our theoretical results are checked by other researchers, and we are not connected to them, we only see their publications with the results of experiments. For example, our group has worked a lot with the interaction between space objects through tether, we have published two books on tether systems and we see how these results are transformed into full-scale installations and even into space mission projects. Collaboration with academics Popov’s group is also cool because they are advanced not only in theory, but also in creating experimental facilities. They present their ideas and test them themselves, and our joint project will also have an experimental part.

– You have already said that without the cleansing of outer space from debris, further development is impossible, and what, in your opinion, are the most urgent next tasks?

– I will once again talk about my favorite subject – more important than the cleansing of space, now there is nothing at all for the planet Earth. Why is this problem not solved? Since the market is not ready to clean up space debris, no one is ready to pay for it. Why, for example, should Russia remove foreign space debris? Who will pay for this? In addition, not everything that now flies in low orbits can be called garbage. For example, the upper stages of launchers. Only about 350 pieces remained from Kosmos-3M at altitudes of 500-700 km. Each of these more than two tons of metal is not rubbish, but building materials for future space missions. And, of course, Russia, like all other countries, will object if anyone wants to remove them. So, along with the task of collecting garbage, there is the problem of recycling, creating a recycling station in space, which, like a 3D printer, will build new objects from this material.

If we talk about other tasks and problems, they are well known even without me. For example, the projects that Elon Musk is launching, including Starlink’s global satellite network. In my opinion, good luck to the inhabitants of the earth that there is such a person. He drives progress, makes the whole world work.

But I do not think that the exploration of the moon or Mars is such an urgent task. Going to Mars right now may just be an easy trip, it’s an option for heroes, but is it worth it? And the bases of the moon will not provide great and rapid benefits, we will not carry bags of gold from there. Neither the moon nor Mars can be a survival platform for Earthlings, at least not yet. It is better for us to think about how to save the planet we live on. Another big question is whether such a huge device as the ISS is needed in space. The future belongs to small devices that would be useful, but would not leave traces.

– Do you think that manned cosmonautics is of research or technical importance today? Or is the orbit rather a milestone in the development of the world, from which humanity does not deviate for political reasons?

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