The ability of the human being to make dirty no longer remains only in the planet, but rather that the abandonment of waste in space is already a real problem of the first order that threatens the very existence of astronomy and the possibility of having satellites with which to receive the telephone signal.
The problem is not science fiction, but as true as the past November 15and the russian space agency, in a launch test of an anti-satellite missile, it destroyed its own, named ‘Cosmos’, which was fragmented into more than 1,500 parts, according to Russian accounts, and into “hundreds of thousands” if the version is the American.
“It is a pressing problem and technologies will have to be developed to limit it”
The director of National Astronomical Observatory, Rafael Bachiller, explained this week at the XIV Congress of the Association of Environmental Information Journalists (APIA) that astronomy currently suffers from four diseases that still remain unknown to the majority of the world’s population.
Specifically, he has referred to the Light pollution who is depriving the inhabitants of Earth of their “right to the night sky and dark nights to gaze up at the sky“In addition, he affirms that humans are causing a disease of electromagnetic pollution through satellite communications that, although they are” very necessary for some issues, “Bachiller considers that”for some others it could be done without them“.” Even to read the water meter now satellites are used. You have to rethink it, “he says, because humans are creating a harmful radiation field around the planet.
In fact, the scientist, author of ‘The improbable universe’, goes further and warns: in this “Faraday cage” being created around the Earth we are depriving ourselves of the possibility of communicate with outer space because all that radiation is isolating the planet from the rest of the cosmos.
The third problem is the orbiting space junk, a subject that “begins to be worrying for the countries” and that will demand “large investments”. To the list of threats, the scientist adds the potential biological contamination that earthlings can cause when they send any of their missions to the solar system. “Every time we land on an asteroid or a planet, we run the risk of leaving bacteria there. potential of contamination that we can cause to the cosmos can be tremendous “, observes Bachiller.
In this way, not only does the pollution of water, air and natural terrestrial and marine spaces affect the land, but also space is flooding with trash harmful to the planet.
“The mega-constellations of satellites are putting the very existence of astronomy at risk,” emphasizes Bachiller, because 10,000 satellites launched into space from Sputnik in 1957, they remain about 2,500 operating. Some of the others go zombies speeding through low orbit, either whole or in pieces. Even a single screw can pose a “real danger” to other satellites and even to the International Space Station.
So much so that both NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) have cataloged and are already monitoring more than 28,000 fragments of more than 10 centimeters, since they recognize that if the low orbit fills with fragments there will be a problem when launching a new satellite, which will soon be at risk of being damaged or destroyed. Although not monitored, estimates suggest that more than 1 million objects larger than one centimeter and hundreds of billions of fragments or objects larger than 1 millimeter occupy outer space.
“It is a pressing problem and it will be necessary to develop technologies to limit this problem“, says the expert who points out that, far from this, at NASA has sent 3 million batteries of garbage into space from the International Space Station.
The director of the National Astronomical Observatory considers that the international law does not protect spaceNor the moon, so that any state could settle there. In this way, it claims this orbital natural satellite of the Earth as a “scientific natural resource of the first order for cultural, philosophical and poetic reasons.” “Its value is incalculable. It belongs to all humanity,” he defends.
But solutions are raised. For example, ESA plans to launch the mission ‘ClearSpace-1‘, which will serve as a technology demonstrator to remove space debris in non-decaying orbits (and which, therefore, will remain in space for much longer than that in low orbits, which is subjected to slight atmospheric friction).
Thousands of satellites threaten space
Bachiller predicts a “terrifying” future for the cosmos given the exponential increase in satellite launches and even satellite constellations. Only X space by Elon Musk foresees deploy 30,000 units and Jeff Bezos already has another constellation in space with several thousand of them. “Tens of thousands of satellites are being put into orbit. These constellations are going to populate the celestial vault and these are already observed at night with luminous traces,” he commented in his speech, in which he denounced that the problem is so serious that it can suppose the end of astronomy.
For this reason, he advocates for more legislation, because the current one is “insufficient and outdated“and because planning integrates the concept of the end of the cycle, either by returning it to Earth to” burn “it in the atmosphere or by sending it to the” graveyard orbit “which is higher than geostationary and from which they cannot get out.