Amazon, Spacex, Star Lake discussed on Astronomy Cast
Are they going to do the same thing with open source abilities to track. Did you know that China launched more rockets last year than than the United States. Yes yeah so so like this is like whatever happens starling. There will be a Chinese version of Star Lake. And what is going to happen with all the other companies looking to do this because you know spacex is doing doing this. It's just a matter of time before we see the same coming from Amazon and wealth from everyone else so while things so far. You're if you're willing to trust that they will do what they say. And this is a sticking point for a lot of people I understand. While it's promising. Promising for SPACEX. We don't know what the future will hold and this is honestly terrifying to a lot of people. Yeah Yeah there's a lot of really bad people because they're anticipating thing and it's an enemy it is so interesting and I hope you're already starting to kind of Echo. The previous conversation that had had it is completely flipped around. You've got astronomers who have this resource of the the night sky that they're using to gather data data it is it is sacred to them. And you have someone coming in and the Internet over the the Internet wanting to take wanting to utilize this resource and the astronomers being being concerned and wanting more dialogue and wanting to have their concerns taken very seriously so obviously the the whole irony of the situation is not lost using the same word they really. Are they making a purely emotional arguments saying but this is our cultural heritage this sacred to us. It's the exact same argument it absolutely is and so you can see the same. The same method for being able to resolve. What's happening with Hawaii is going to be the same method? It's GONNA be resolved there. There was a couple of other really interesting things. One is the the sort of the opportunity to be able to resolve this like like with regulation. That ship has sailed that horses out of the Barn and in fact the people who are who are the astronomers who are working with spaces eighty six on this have said right now there. There is no regulation option to be able to stop space x from doing what they're doing to stop these. The the only one issue which was that In the radio spectrum. And this is the third prob right okay so in the radio spectrum There was a very specific set of the radio spectrum that the the astronomers authority that the satellite constellations aren't allowed to use. It's this three hundred. Two hundred and fifty megahertz and it accounts for about one eighth of the spectrum that these these constellations are able to use and they were able to get them to see that part of the spectrum actress for radio astronomy which has already sort of partly been defined by by regulation so they were able to ratchet that back in. So you've got this part of the spectrum which originally the satellite constellations us and they have agreed to not use in order to continue eighteen protecting that spectrum. I Ronnie and this gets back to the relationship issue because one of the things that we heard over and over was but they haven't turned on the satellites and we don't trust alum to have actually done what they said so there's a lot of fear right now because there isn't the relationship that these constellations installations aren't going to do what they promised and are instead going to do as the iridium satellites did and just stomp all over the astronomical protected parts of the radio a spectrum and so again these two problems completely parallel parallel each other. Where because there's a lack of trust because there is a lack of of relationship the communications companies are saying? We're just trying to get Internet to remote parts of the world. The people and the astronomers are saying. We don't trust you and could you could have at least told us what your plans were. And we could have worked with you over years to come up with strategies and use all that engineering capability that you have to minimize the impact on both the night sky for everybody and because I mean I think that yeah we've lucked out with this batch right. Yes you go outside in almost any circumstance you will not be able to see starlings airlinks like. They're not going to be this grid of dots in the sky that you're going to see and it is going to Besmirch your vision of the heavens but as as we enter the space age and we get our You know and and we get our gigantic rotating space stations. We'll get our we're going to this guy and you're going to lose the sky. Yeah it is and so that is the downside. The downside of that Star Trek future is watching starship a banner prize shine brightly in the night sky. While you're just trying to watch the meteor shower as the enterprise flies overhead and I'm kind of okay with and but but what we're saying is a lot of this comes down to people are currently afraid and fear isn't facts facts so when you hear people with both Monica as we talked about in the last episode and Starling as we're talking about today saying saying but we don't trust but we are concerned that this is sacred to us. What you're hearing is one group if if people who just want to try something new amazing advanced society and another group of saying but we don't care about your advancements we're happy the way we are please go away and we need to build relationships if we do want to move forward so that we can move forward together and sometimes be able to say? I don't agree with you. Yeah Yeah but we've talked this out and you've heard what I have to say so I'm GonNa sit down and support you and this is something that comes out of the software community. Allot you hash. Everything out figure out how you're going to move forward. You have all the disagreements but once you come to that conclusion you support the path forward forward but you have to have the relationship. Yeah let's let's. Let's work on building the relationships. Yeah I think I mean obviously the the the position that I've had For quite a while is is it is it is now inevitable that everyone on earth is going to want access to the Internet it. It is the way that we as human beings will connect and so then the question is what is the way. Are we going to build millions another five million cell towers around the world and it will take more than five million more cell towers to to complete the last mile to get everybody online. Or How many cell towers to win. WanNa go with five G.. What is the impact on on a story is that he has five G. Five G.? What's back to five G. on I mean it looks like those are actually pretty serious transmission power and and? We don't know whether it's going to do. They're radically eight weather. Yeah the sound strikes on and on there are millions of birds that hit cell towers right right and and beyond that just the fact that it is cost prohibitive to run fiber optics tech's to all the little islands of the world to run the wires to every rural village in well Canada. Yeah you gotTa Lay cable through sensitive that of marine environments. You've got a big big long fiber optic tunnels through permafrost through. It's madness to to consider under the engineering to planet Earth. It'll be required to provide the same level of Internet access that that these satellite constellations installations are going to provide and one thing that we did talk about a bit is is that there's GonNa be multiple constellations. There's not just Starlink. There's the one from Amazon one in web has already launched six satellites. The one web ones are at an altitude of twelve hundred kilometers and they are visible for the entire pass through the field of you. There's no time that they're not visible. They're always visible but they're dimmer because they're farther so they're only eighth magnitude but which is still highly bright in in any telescope and there's going to be more those and as you said the Chinese ones there's the there's the Amazon Amazon is planning three thousand plus satellites when one of the phrases that was used today is this is an existential crisis. Yeah do we protect the skies at the cost of our environment as we lay new communications lines in towers across the world to we sacrifice the astronomy to erase the digital divide. We find a way to maybe compromise compromised both in protect a few places. There are after all places and I believe. It's Virginia where you can't use a cell phone because of the radio quiet zone there are compromises but they require relationships. Yeah and and with one hundred and fifty dark sky preserves around the world the account for one hundred thousand thousand square kilometers of space in twenty different countries. The you can go to and you can see the Milky Way you can see the night sky in a way that that the vast majority of humanity will never see it and if we lose those spaces we will lose that connection to the night sky with light pollution and peeks into every single corner of of of planet Earth. And there's no place you can go to see the sky as it's meant to be seen that will be an absolute shame and I really hope that we can figure out some kind of compromise that allows us to continue enjoying the sky. Continue to you do science but also be able to connect people around the world and and and I don't think anyone knows the solution yet. One one quick additional comment I know people are asking about this idea of painting. The the satellites black or use Bantu black or stealth technologies and someone actually brought this up in conversation. Komo in the press conferences and they were saying that that in fact The problem is is that if you paint the telescope black. It now radiate in the infrared ed so the visible astronomers have an easier time with the night sky but now the infrared astronomers have a worst time and of course this whole time. The radio astronomers have just screaming in pain from the From shouting telescopes. So it's it's it's it's GonNa be a thorny issue and I sort of wish we had started could conversation nation ten years ago as opposed to now as these constellations are going up one after the other and this is really a case that has brought about because the astronomers were off offseting doing their Strana me quite happily not worried about. How do you get the Internet to the rest of the world whereas the communications companies is that well make their money off of? How do we get more people on the Internet? They were thinking through this. and Dr Phil Metzker is someone who's actually done some interesting writing on this and just points out that this is a necessary step in the communications Haitians Infrastructure of building society in the future. We will probably figure out how to do things that are lower latency. Which means there's there's less lag? Time between the two between sending and receiving the signals that they can be handled in a different way than just sticking satellites in low enough orbits to drop the latency. Well also not having huge power choir minutes. We're not there yet. And so this is a temporary temporary step and we don't know what the future is going to be can be bright. Yeah well it's going to be polluted. So so here's the thing though you'll still be able to see the Milky Way. These aren't providing the kind of light pollution that a city provides this. This is the kind of light pollution of you're looking at the Milky Way and it's like there's an airplane dashing across it except it's moving much faster and isn't as bright as an airplane airplane so if you can imagine if you've ever gone camping someplace that isn't dark sky preserve. That doesn't have air traffic above it if you've ever gone out to a farm if you've ever gone out to yellowstone you can see the Milky Way and then you also see all the air traffic that's what we're looking to is. It's going to be like a lot more air traffic but you can buy still see all the faint things if you're trying to take images you're doomed. It's the people who are imagers that are doomed. Yep Yeah I mean I already have to throw away so many frames from Astra photos. I can't imagine how how where this is going to go. Oh next all right well so I hope that gives everyone the update which is the Starlink marches on astronomy. Astronomers are continue you to be outraged and we will continue this conversation over time as more and more of these satellites go up and more. Hopefully mitigation in strategies are are figured out. Well thanks Pamela. It was Super Fun to you as always hanging out with you in person here in in one of these American Astronomical Normal Society meetings. It's been ten years since I've been to one. I don't how recent spin a few years for me as well. Yeah this is an important one. But I hope people enjoy all of the content that we've been streaming bringing back and who knows maybe we'll go on to the next one and he didn't do it so I will his guide to space and and question answer shows are about to have a flood of amazing content. So check this out if you haven't already and if you want to hear more about the news that has come out this week. Take check out the daily space that we're putting out with cosmic quest all right and we'll see you next week. We will see all next week by thank. Thank you for listening to. Astronomy cast a nonprofit resource provided by the Planetary Science Institute Frazier Kane and Dr Pamela Gay. You confined show notes and transcripts for every.