The constellations of communication satellites that have started to deploy some players like SpaceX with its Starlink are a growing threat to astronomy. And it is one of the most prominent representatives of this community who complains about it in a video, the Swiss astronomer, recipient of the Nobel Prize in physics in 2019, Didier Queloz.
Professor at the Geneva Observatory and at the University of Cambridge in England, Didier Queloz has split a video with measured tone, but some elements of language are final. Noting that the expansion into space is a “new frontier (…) out of control ”, he qualifies the launch of potentially tens of thousands of satellites as “threat ” and “the consequence is that we will lose the sky“.
No international consultation, no dialogue with scientists
One of the major problems is the savage and secret nature of these launches: while the American authorities obviously give their authorization for launches from their soil, there does not seem to be any international consensus. And no discussion between industry and scientists.
“The people who launch these satellites don’t care. They never talk to astronomers, they never talk to the public. They are obsessed with this network of satellites that would provide the whole world with Wi-Fi. […] And they don’t do this for free, it’s business», Denounces Didier Queloz. Adding that he “would love to have a real chat with these people“.
While the rocket reuse technology invented by SpaceX is fine and a breakthrough for space, the satellite constellation project is, at least for astronomers, a big step backwards for science. And Mr Queloz to pose the even more fundamental problem posed by Starlink initiatives “These actors don’t care if people are willing to swap the (starry) sky for Wi-Fi. […] I would love to see this debate […] : should the sky remain something free? Or is it a new market?“. For Elon Musk, the answer seems obvious …
Source : Techdirt