There is a growing amount of space debris, space junk, and satellite's orbiting the earth. Will this eventually become a problem that makes astronomy impossible and launching new satellite's difficult?
Growing Space Debris and Satellite's
There is a growing amount of space debris and satellite's that is making astronomy more difficult, as it is starting to block the views of stars from observatories on the earth.
SpaceX has Starlink, which is launching swarms of satellite's into outer space, which will allow internet access everywhere on earth. That is a wonderful thing, but without some governing body to manage what is orbiting the earth, I fear that we are on a collision course of space debris that is going to require some creative solutions to solve.
There are observatories, like the Rubin Observatory of the U.S. Government, that say if this is left unchecked, satellite constellations will jeopardize not just their Observatory, but almost any campaign to observe the universe in visible light. Telescope project managers are rewriting scheduling programs to avoid the new satellite swarms...
What Is the Solution?
At the moment, there are 3,268 satellites orbiting Earth and more than half are Starlink satellites. This is due to Elon Musk making reusable rockets and being able to launch into space over and over again at a very cheap cost.
The Rubin Observatory cost $700 million and is a threatened ground based astronomy project. The telescope there is scheduled for first light in 2024 and by then, there will be tens of thousand of satellites along with Starlink satellites orbiting the earth.
Astronomers and software developers can work on software that will eliminate some of the satellite streaks or change where the telescope is looking in order to avoid them, but this won't be a permanent solution as more space objects little the night sky. The pace of satellite launching is only going to accelerate.
The FCC could put rules into place to enforce what and how much people can launch into orbit. But that is a slow process. There was a solar flare that disabled 40 satellites and brought them back to earth, so the sun decided to be a solution in that case :).
What do you think of the ever-increasing amount of space debris and satellites? Will this destroy ground based astronomy?
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