NanoRacks-Remove Debris Satellite launch view taken by Expedition 56 crew
NanoRacks-Remove Debris Satellite launch view taken by Expedition 56 crew

Cosmic Queries – Space Junk! with Moriba Jah

NASA Image: ISS056E025305
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About This Episode

What do we do with all this space junk? On this episode, Neil deGrasse Tyson and comic co-host Chuck Nice answer questions about the stuff we put into orbit with astrodynamicist and space environmentalist, Dr. Moriba Jah. How much stuff and how many satellites are really up there?

Discover how Moriba discovered his field and his path to studying objects in orbit. What’s the magnitude of the problem with space junk? You’ll learn just how many objects are in low earth orbit and who is responsible for them. What do we do about parts that fall out of orbit toward earth? Is there any way to control it? Do we have any space junk laws?

We talk about the space debris of different government space projects. Who’s responsible for falling debris? Is the U.S. guilty of this? Can we create a “great junkyard in the sky” in a Lagrange point? Are satellites at risk of colliding with each other? We break down regulations that should be made to manage objects in orbit as we enter a new era in space travel. Should there be space traffic laws?

Are all these objects making the sky brighter? Find out about how space objects impact light pollution for hobby astronomers and researchers alike. Is all this stuff in the sky going to make stargazing difficult? Are there any solutions to limit how many satellites are in orbit? We discuss plans to remove space junk and how world governments need to coordinate on this. Is our orbit a new wild wild West? Are there any upsides to space junk? All that, plus, find out about and space lasers!

Thanks to our Patrons Louis Smith, Dana Fambro, David Johnston, Tracy Fox, Charlene Hale, Lucas Pires, and Paulina Banach-Mazur for supporting us this week.

NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free.

About the prints that flank Neil in this video:
“Black Swan” & “White Swan” limited edition serigraph prints by Coast Salish artist Jane Kwatleematt Marston. For more information about this artist and her work, visit Inuit Gallery of Vancouver.


In This Episode

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