Did you know Sea of dead satellites and debris is forming an impenetrable capsule around the Earth

Did you know Sea of dead satellites and debris is forming an impenetrable capsule around the Earth

Its been 64 years since Sputnik was launched in the Earth’s orbit back in 1957. It was a huge milestone for humans as this was the first man made object to reach the Earth’s orbital. However, with time many satellites were launched and till today, over 3000 satellites are currently orbiting the Earth and due to this, the night skies of our planet has become extremely dense.

These 3000 satellites are not just floating instead they are linked with millions of pieces of space debris including the discarded rocket parts, broken satellites and some patches from the paint being done on the satellites. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration simply known as NASA, they reported that the estimated weight of the debris alone present in the inner space or the Low Earth Orbit could be almost 6000 tonnes.

 This space debris could not just affect the navigation hazards for the astronauts and being an obstacle, instead it can also reflect the sunlight down back to the Earth’s surface. A study shows that since space debris can reflect light and now because of this there is no place left on earth on which it could be claimed that this is a light pollution free zone in addition to this, researchers believe that this rate will not go down any soon since major space programs such as SpaceX’s Starlink program has already been scheduled to take off.

 Jonathan McDowell an astrophysicist, warned everyone back in 2020. According to him, the night sky gazers and astronomers should expect a future in which the Low Earth Population that holds tens of thousands of comparatively large satellites. He further added that as a result , it will impose an impact that will be significant in many observations at certain times of the year. Taking things a couple of years back when only upto 10000 of man-made objects were being launched in the orbit, that was the beginning of the so called Space age. Currently, commercial launching of rockets is not that much expensive then it used to be, numerically it used to be $24,800 in the beginning but now its down to $1240 only.

With this set of prices, it is expected that by the year 2025 more than 18000 satellites will be orbiting the Earth, this will be ten times the total number of man-made satellites that were present back in 2018. Two major projects that has already been given permission by the US government to launch there own satellites are the SpaceX’s Starlink program that alone will be launching 12000 Starlinks, while the other major program is the Amazon’s Kuiper project that will be launching 3236 satellites. As mentioned above, satellites could also cause sunrays to reflect directly, the SpaceX’s first 360 Starlinks were enough to prove this point. In the beginning, the satellites could easily be distinguished and were causing sun rays to reflect directly because of their shinny surface. However the company decided to introduce the darker colour variant and claimed to reduce 55% of the reflected light. 

Fortunately, satellites are not the only things that are going up instead many international companies along with NASA are working together to help get rid of the space debris as it is a global problem. Many ideas have be shared on how to control this debris in the SATCON 1 workshop. According to Xander Hall, the system engineer of Airbus Mission. In his interview with CNN back in 2018, he stated that each piece of junk that is present in the space is owned by its original operator and that this space orbital debris is not addressed in the current international laws. He suggested that international efforts must be done in order to claim the ownership of the space debris so it could be removed safely.


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