Why scientists hate Starlink, Elon Musk’s satellite Internet

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why scientists hate starlink elon musks satellite internet.jpg
why scientists hate starlink elon musks satellite internet.jpg

Starlink Anger

We have a serious problem with the sky. Currently, around the Earth, there are around 50,000 objects orbiting, of which only 6,000 are modern satellites that are active. Luckily, the orbits of all this space junk are perfectly calculated, and the risk of collision is really reduced. However, the number of launches and objects launched into orbit is growing exponentially. And one of the culprits, and one that can even trigger an apocalypse, is Starlink.

Starlink is a satellite network designed by Elon Musk with which it is capable of offer Internet anywhere in the world. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a city, in the countryside, in the mountains, in the most inhospitable area… as long as you see the sky, you will have Internet (as long as, of course, you have a power source).

Of the 6,000 satellites orbiting the Earth, more than 3,500 are part of Starlink. And not only that, but in the near future the Tesla and X magnate wants to put more than 12,000 satellites into orbit to complete his idea of ​​a global Internet for everyone.

Any advance in technology is always welcome, since thanks to this network many people, who currently have no possibility of connecting, will finally be able to have access to the network. However, in this case, fulfilling the visionary’s project involves paying a very high price. And we probably have to say goodbye to heaven as we know it.

Goodbye to the right to the night sky

We’re all excited to see Elon Musk’s satellite network in the sky for the first time, even when it’s daytime. However, if we can see it in sunlight, we can imagine the impact these satellites have on the night sky.

If we live in a city, we surely don’t know how to appreciate the night sky. But, the moment we move a few kilometers away from the urban center, and look at the sky, we can see the magic of the sky. A firmament that, due to these satellites, is increasingly less magical.

That you, or I, can’t enjoy the night sky, to be honest, doesn’t matter to anyone. However, as he tells us QuantumFracture, Not having free access to the night sky is a serious problem for scientists and astronomers who are dedicated to studying, and solving, the mysteries of the universe.

The largest telescopes for studying the sky are mounted in the darkest places possible. If we want to see a distant galaxy, the telescope must have a very large exposure to be able to capture the little, and limited, light that reaches us. The problem arises when, after several minutes of exposure, with the slow shutter open, a wild satellite that crosses us in front, completely destroying the photo. And it not only affects visible light, but even if infrared vision is used, and even radio frequency, the satellites will always be in view.

Photo Cielo Elon

Although Starlink has worked more and more to hide its satellites as much as possible, and is even studying new ways to help astronomers (public routes, variable trajectories, etc.), we are facing a very serious problem and, furthermore, with a only solution: take telescopes into space, above the entire network of space junk (said by Elon Musk himself).

The risks of the Starlink satellite network

But not being able to see the sky is not the only problem we face. And, due to this network of satellites, we find that the main space agencies, such as NASA and ESA, are not able to detect possible asteroids, or meteorites, that are approaching Earth in time. The satellites could act as a screen and make these systems think that a more or less small asteroid is simply another module. And the consequences would be catastrophic.

But it does not stop here. We have said that, currently, there are more than 60,000 objects in orbit around the earth. Of which, only 6,000 are truly useful and active satellites and stations. But the problem is space debris. The greater the number of satellites in the sky (and, remember, Elon Musk wants to put more than 12,000 into orbit), the greater the probability of space debris collisions. These collisions will generate more debris, which will impact more satellites.

In the end, there will be a cascading destruction of the entire network of satellites in orbit. And the worst comes when all this space junk starts falling to earth.

Obviously, we always put ourselves in the worst case scenario, and it is unlikely that something like this will happen… but not impossible.

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Abraham
Expert tech and gaming writer, blending computer science expertise