SpaceX‘s Starlink program could allegedly turn Earth into a target for massive asteroids that could end the human civilization, astronomers claimed.
Starlink is Elon Musk’s SpaceX’s satellite high-speed program that will ultimately help in sending thousands of satellites in the lower orbit of Earth to provide Internet in every part of the planet. While the intent may be admirable and extremely ambitious, some scientists claim it could harm the humanity, even though it does everything it can to survive potential asteroid impacts. This is due to the fact that asteroid-hunting telescopes observe the sky and search for dim images of space rocks that they then use to calculate the asteroid’s trajectory.
Starlink is Being Bashed
The task could become way more challenging when telescopes have to permeate thousands of Starlink satellites that reflect light besides all the other satellites already placed in Earth’s orbit. One particular scientist said that space experts should have been ready for this time when major corporations lead the scientific field and that they should have tried to prevent programs like Starlink before they were implemented.
Scientist John McDowell said: ”The astronomy community dropped the ball. We should have been on this ten years ago, and we didn’t see it coming.”
Elon Musk has earlier warned astronomers, saying that a big rock will eventually collide with our planet, and now space experts are restating his previous claim. Even though the possibilities of a giant asteroid crashing into our planet are tiny, NASA claims there is a one-in-300,000 chance each year that a cosmic rock which could provoke local devastation will hit. Therefore, the damaging prospect is not something impossible.
NASA and the ESA have made huge advancements in identifying near-Earth objects that are more than one kilometer (half a mile) in size, with 90 percent now registered and constantly observed.
Space Advances That Could be Detrimental
Even so, that only means that there is 10 percent of hazardous space rocks that have not been detected. NASA believed that an asteroid of just one kilometer (half a mile) in size has the ability to create damage across Earth.
The space agency said: “An individual’s chance of being killed by a meteorite is small, but the risk increases with the size of the impacting comet or asteroid, with the greatest risk associated with global catastrophes resulting from impacts of objects larger than 1 kilometer.”
Even so, it is not just the asteroid searching space experts are worried about with regard to Starlink. Earlier this year, the International Astronomical Union, or IAU, released a statement which noted that the scientific affairs are dual.
The statement said: “Firstly, the surfaces of these satellites are often made of highly reflective metal, and reflections from the Sun in the hours after sunset and before sunrise make them appear as slow-moving dots in the night sky.”
And even though the majority of these reflections may be so dim that they can hardly be seen with the naked eye, they can have adverse impacts on the fine capabilities of large astronomical telescopes located on the ground.
“Secondly, despite notable efforts to avoid interfering with radio astronomy frequencies, aggregate radio signals emitted from the satellite constellations can still threaten astronomical observations at radio wavelengths,” the report noted.
Developing technologies in radio astronomy were only possible because of focused efforts in protecting the radio sky from impediments.
Paula is an outstanding reporter for Henri Le Chat Noir, always finding new and interesting topics to bring to the portal. She mostly crafts Science and Technology news articles, covering everything one needs to know about those niches. Paula studied at Concordia University.