New space launches may increase the risk of collisions


With the increase in the number of objects in orbits on Earth, researcher Moriba Jah, from the University of Texas at Austin, created a digital tool to monitor the traffic of space hardware. Called AstriaGraph, the platform makes it possible to search for records through filters by region of the planet, presenting the positions and characteristics of their artificial bodies – listed as: active and inactive satellites, rockets, debris and strangers.

Due to the constant increase in missions, its objective is to alert countries and private companies about a probable scenario of collisions of objects – currently, there are about 3 thousand active satellites and 26 thousand fragments. This can cause damaging debris to terrestrial systems, the human population and new operations. In an interview with The Verge, the scholar even suggests a sustainable reflection of the space industry as a whole:

The issue of space debris is often associated with discussions about the “Kessler syndrome”, which points out that at some point there will be so many objects in orbit that they will trigger uncontrolled collisions. In this case, they would be more present in the low orbital region of the Earth and in the polar orbits used for communications, remote sensing and meteorology.

However, he does not believe in that future, arguing that “if this gets out of hand, we could pause in new launches and, eventually, collisions would decrease and lead to a state of equilibrium”.

However, Jah points out that there is a limit on the capacity of space to hold a certain number of objects. “The greatest danger is that, as with any ecosystem, there is a finite capacity that we must not exceed to the point that its continued use is not possible,” he said.


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