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Paper: Addressing the Industrialization of Space and Its Threat to Dark Skies
Volume: 533, ASP 2021: Sharing Best Practices – AstronomyTeaching and Public Engagement
Page: 47
Authors: Walker, C.; Hall, J.
Abstract: Today, we are in the initial years of a watershed moment, this time not on the ground with LEDs but in space. A steadily increasing number of entities is now launching both people and hardware into space. The result is exponential growth in the density and variety of satellites at a wide range of altitudes. As the glowing nighttime landscape on Earth has been transformed over the past two decades, so the sky is now being similarly transformed. In the realm of low-Earth orbit, there is a window of opportunity—albeit narrow and closing—to address the impact of thousands of new satellites proactively. The SATCON workshops have set the foundation for this work. Working groups (WG) researched in advance of the workshops. For SATCON2, the Observations and Algorithms WGs explored some SATCON1 recommendations directly. The Community Engagement WG brought many new voices and perspectives to the issue, and the Policy WG examined regulatory framework and mitigation approaches from national, international, and industry viewpoints. In the interactive session a panel of five members from the four WGs will update participants with the latest work during the first 30 minutes and discuss answers to questions from the participants during the next 20 minutes. Questions can be asked on how SatHub will help to make accurate predictions of the location or brightness of a satellite to quantify and mitigate scientific and broader impacts. Participants might be interested in the software needed? Or how Sovereign Indigenous Nations view their roles in these matters. And how can policy and regulatory frameworks be utilized to mitigate issues from a national, international and industry perspective? Best of all, participants may ask how to get involved. It is incumbent on all who use space and the night sky as a resource to consider the myriad impacts on humanity of the industrialization of space and to establish a shared vision for the use of space that supports and respects all its users.
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