Researchers concerned at proliferation of commercial satellites in Earth’s low orbit- Check survey

Scientists and researchers are concerned about the proliferation of tens of thousands of commercial satellites in Earth’s low orbit. A large number of satellites in the future could interfere with work to discover near-Earth or Earthbound asteroids and comets. Here is what the survey shows.

| Updated on: Sep 01 2022, 18:44 IST
NASA: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter makes astonishing discovery
1/6 The lunar pits found by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter have mild temperatures, drastically different from the extreme conditions on the surface of the Moon. The temperatures in these caves are nearly 17 degree Celsius almost at all times. (NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)
2/6 NASA Moon recently tweeted, "Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter images of pits indicate that the Moon has caves. Could they become astronaut habitats? Scientists have discovered that parts of the pits are always about 63°F (17°C), differing from extreme temperatures at the Moon's surface". (NASA)
3/6 The surface temperatures on the Moon can go from an extremely high 127 degrees Celsius and as low as -173 degrees Celsius. "The pits, and caves to which they may lead, would make thermally stable sites for lunar exploration compared to areas at the Moon's surface, which heat up to 260 F (about 127 C) during the day and cool to minus 280 F (about minus 173 C) at night,” NASA Moon tweeted further. (NASA)
4/6 First discovered in 2009, these lunar pits could potentially be used as location for a first Moon Base. Not only are the temperatures moderate, but these pits could also provide protection against cosmic rays, solar radiation and micrometeorites, according to NASA. (AP)
5/6 LRO Project Scientist Noah Petro of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center said, “Lunar pits are a fascinating feature on the lunar surface. Knowing that they create a stable thermal environment helps us paint a picture of these unique lunar features and the prospect of one day exploring them.” (NASA)
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6/6 The particular pit used to analyze the thermal properties by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter was in an area of the Moon known as the Mare Tranquillitatis. It is 100-meters deep and as wide as a football field. According to scientists, the overhang of the pit is responsible for creating shadows on the Moon and maintaining a temperature of nearly 17 degrees Celsius at all times. (NASA)
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Know what the researchers have to say on commercial satellites in Earth’s low orbit. (Pexels)

Space is full of objects including planets, asteroids, meteors. As earth has a gravitational force it even attracts or pulls objects that are nearby hence leading to asteroids, meteors, among others entering the planet's atmosphere. However, what can be noted here is that not every object heading towards Earth is able to hit its surface, however, they can still be dangerous. Therefore, research organisations keep an eye on the objects that are in space and can pass by or even strike Earth to avoid any kind of collision. But, with the increasing number of satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO), scientists and researchers have voiced their concerns about planetary defense.

According to a Apollo Academic Surveys conducted in collaboration with Carrie Nugent at Olin College of Engineering researchers in the planetary defense community were asked for their opinions on three key topics: discovery of asteroids and comets that could hit the Earth, the possibility of deflecting those asteroids and comets, and the newly developing risks from large numbers of commercial satellites.

While according to the report, 74 percent of respondents were, at the least, moderately concerned about the proliferation of tens of thousands of commercial satellites in Earth's low orbit, with 42% saying they were “seriously concerned” or “extremely concerned”. A large number of satellites in the future could interfere with work to discover near-Earth or Earthbound asteroids and comets.

The survey got response from 34 researchers, where they believe that the top area for improvement in the planetary defense community is its ability to discover large Earthbound asteroids and comets, with 100 percent of respondents rating discovery over other priorities.

"Experts thought that given five years of warning we had a 41% chance of stopping a medium asteroid – about the size of a cruise ship – but only a 17% chance of stopping a larger asteroid – more than half a mile long. Our chance of stopping a comet was deemed lower than our chances of stopping an asteroid. However, experts stressed that the likelihood of such a large object hitting Earth was very low, happening only once every 550,000 years," the report said.

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First Published Date: 01 Sep, 18:44 IST
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