The struggle of Elon Mask with astronomers continues. The billionaire declares the complete harmlessness of his satellites for space exploration. However, a new report confirms that if all 42,000 Starlink satellites are launched into space, ground-based observations of the sky will cause irreparable damage.
A group of scientists from Rubin’s Observatory (PST) claims that the deployment of Starlink satellites will disrupt the LSST space and time mission, which should begin work in late 2021 and complete in 2032. It is reported that every third image will contain a satellite trace, with almost all images taken at dusk or at dawn will be marked with at least one satellite trace. Already, the LSST team claims that if urgent measures are not taken, the launch of the project will have to be postponed for 4 years.
To study the starry sky, the LSST observatory plans to use a 8.4-meter telescope with a 3200-megapixel camera that allows you to take 1000 photos every night. One of the mission’s goals will be to detect dangerous asteroids that are approaching Earth. For this, the telescope should ideally take pictures with a 30-second exposure to capture distant objects that are 20 million times dimmer than anything that can be seen with the naked eye. Because of this, the risk of getting into the frame of the satellites of Elon Mask is increased.
“The LSST project will create a color film of the universe. For the first time, humanity will see a universe with a panoramic view in space and time. This requires access to the pristine, unpolluted night sky, which has always been an inalienable right to observe the inhabitants of the Earth, ”the researchers say.
According to scientists, there are several ways to solve the problem:
- Equipping satellites with a protective layer, which will reduce the brightness of each of them by ten times. At the same time, all SpaceX satellites should be put into the highest possible orbit, since they are now located at an altitude of 290 kilometers above the Earth.
- The next solution could be the creation of special algorithms with which the AI will ignore satellite constellations. This is complicated by the fact that the future telescope has a scanning area of 10 square degrees, which is 40 times larger than the area occupied by the moon in the starry sky.
- Another option may work if you reduce the exposure of the shooting from thirty to fifteen seconds. Due to this, only in one of the two images will the “tail” of the satellite be visible. True, in this case there is a chance to overlook important objects.