This is the session I was looking forward to all conference! Dr. Moriba Jah catalogs “space debris” left over from all of our space exploration. His slides are here, so I’ll just hit the highlights! (Although this man was a phenomenal speaker & I wanted to write down pretty much every word he said!)
There is a lack of scientific research being done into the abundance of man-made objects in space…Of the 23 thousand objects floating around in space (that we know about!) only about 1300 are functioning! 96% is TRASH!l
Why do we care? degradation/interruption of space capabilities (DISH signal going down during the game…), climate impacts? This issue has turned into a Tragedy of the Commons” (people are acting in their own self-interest…space junk is someone else’s problem!”
Space Environment has harsh effects on items. Modeling has all been done up to now with all items as spheres, but all objects aren’t spheres )or, if they were they don’t stay that way!) poor communication and NO TAXONOMY. There are lots of known icebergs, but really poor communication and very little sharing of information.
Things to do/think about:
- Make everything we send up there trackable
- need space “Rules of the Road”
- Monitor what is already there to inform policy
- Use physics to make predictions about what is there.
Dr. Jah’s TedTalk on Space Traffic