Over the past several decades, advancements in space technology have led to an unprecedented number of satellites being put into orbit, which has led to a number of exciting new insights and findings. However, it’s come at a cost: with a few thousand tons of space debris from old and nonfunctional satellites orbiting the earth at a rate of about seven kilometers per second, each individual piece of debris poses the threat of colliding with another, or with a new satellite. This is a problem that must be addressed in order to continue using satellites safely.
Professor Guglielmo is the director of the Surrey Space Center at the University of Surrey in England, and he joins the podcast today to discuss this problem and the ways in which he’s trying to solve it. He explains that when large particles of debris collide with one another, a cascade effect of collisions ensues, worsening the problem. And of course, if a large piece of debris were to collide with a new satellite, the satellite would be destroyed. According to Guglielmo, then, the largest threat is none other than the largest pieces of debris.
Tune in for all the details about the work that’s being done at Surrey to develop a solution, and the biggest challenge facing the development of that solution. Learn more at www.surrey.ac.uk/surrey-space-centre.