According to the Tech Times article Russia Constructing Powerful 'Space Laser' To Remove Some 500,000 Junk Items Orbiting The Earth:

Russia is still making its mark in space and it is doing so by taking an initiative to tackle one of the growing problems that are orbiting the Earth.

What Did The Russian Space Agency Announce?

On June 11, researchers at the Scientific and Industrial Corporation "Precision Instrument Systems" (NPK SPP), a group within the Russian space agency Roscosmos, announced the creation of a laser cannon that will shoot down space debris that is currently orbiting the Earth. The laser cannon is going to be roughly 3 meters long.

"The scientists intend to use the massive soon-to-be-built telescope at the Altay Optical-Laser Center and convert it into a laser cannon," a source from Roscosmos told Sputnik News. "The device is expected to be powered by a solid-state generator, though the project team has yet to choose which model to use."

Sputnik News claimed that a report was sent to the Russian Academy of Sciences about the laser cannon. However, according to ResearchGate's system on June 12, it doesn't appear to have been published yet.

That's interesting, but I'm particularly interested in the graphic that appears in this article, as well as in the video seen in the Fox News video.

Question: What is the origin of and who is the artist who created this image appearing in an article about a Russian space laser? Is this classic SF art or something more recent? A reverse image search shows this image appearing in perhaps hundreds of different articles, but so far all I find is that they all cite Wikimedia Commons. So far I haven't found it there so I am still having trouble tracking down the original source and artist.

below: "Russian scientists with Roscosmos are working on a laser cannon that will shoot down space debris. There are over 500,000 pieces of space junk orbiting the Earth. ( Edward L. Cooper | Wikimedia Commons )"

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ground-based-laser-DIA.jpg $\endgroup$
    – Christoph
    Jun 13, 2018 at 15:06
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    $\begingroup$ @Christoph that's a great lead, thank you! Unfortunately that page links to a USDoD page which returns 404, but this is certainly progress. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jun 13, 2018 at 15:10
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    $\begingroup$ @Hobbes are we sure the one discussed in the article isn't destined for nefarious purposes as well? ;-) $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jun 13, 2018 at 21:16
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe I'm missing something, (and this is surely off topic) but how exactly is a laser supposed to "shoot down" stuff in orbit? If anything, won't shooting space junk just split it into more space junk? $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3
    Jun 14, 2018 at 1:54
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    $\begingroup$ I've now asked my question as a question, in case anyone else reading this is curious. $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3
    Jun 14, 2018 at 2:19

1 Answer 1


The Federation of American Scientists website, includes the image in a page entitled "DIA Military Art Series: The Threat In The 1980s" and credits the image to a Defence Intelligence Agency artist, Edward L. Cooper. An accompanying page explains the historical context of this work

The Agency commissioned these works of military art to illustrate publications and support official briefings. DIA analysts and artists worked closely to achieve an accurate portrayal of the military system being illustrated. The artwork often depicted classified photography or imagery that could not be used in its original form. Many of these paintings were classified and have only recently been declassified.

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    $\begingroup$ Great job tracking down the original artist, thanks! Here are a few more space-art questions without accepted answers if you are interested; 1, 2, 3 $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jun 14, 2018 at 8:48

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