Space exploration companies have increased their interest in launching satellites to provide better communication system in the coming years. While these initiatives will help significantly to provide better connectivity, astronomers have expressed their concerns that the increased number of satellites will block their views of night sky.
If you have followed news related to space exploration over last couple of years, then you already know that SpaceX along with other companies are set to launch thousands of new satellites. While internet connectivity has improved significantly over last couple of years, cable-based internet connectivity doesn’t provide reliable connection in the remote areas.
While satellite-based internet will improve the offerings significantly, astronomers have warned that highly reflective satellites will block views of sky.
Talking about the possible consequences, astrophysicist Dave Clements of Imperial College London recently commented, “They present a foreground between what we’re observing from the Earth and the rest of the universe. So, they get in the way of everything. And you’ll miss whatever is behind them, whether that’s a nearby potentially hazardous asteroid or the most distant quasar in the universe.”
As of now, there are approximately 2,200 satellites orbiting Earth but SpaceX currently has target to launch another 1,500 satellites by the end of next year with a total of 12,000 in the next five years. Apart from SpaceX, other space exploration companies are also set to launch satellites for same purposes in the coming years.
While space exploration companies have claimed that the satellites won’t interfere with astronomers’ experience, researchers have pointed out that the satellites might make it worse for radioastronomy as the satellites can cause interference.
However, SpaceX has said that it is working with astronomers to find solution to reduce possible impact of the satellites. As of now, SpaceX is planning on using a special coating to cut down on reflectivity for the next satellites.