• Project Title: Space Junk

  • BASIS Advisor: Mr. Winter

  • Internship Location: Digital (New York, NY)

  • Onsite Mentor: Dr. Chonko

One of the largest problems to the future of science and the development of travel almost seems to be invisible to the general population. I am speaking of course about space junk. Through the creation and destruction of satellites and rockets, debris in the Earth’s orbit is a product of just that. Through this project, I will ask, “What are the most effective ways to clear the Earth’s Orbit of debris (aka space junk) and how will this debris affect space travel in the near future?” This is something that had come to my attention after seeing images of satellites that had been obliterated by what seemed to be a pea-sized piece of metal. This was not some kind of trick or illusion, this was a piece of metal that had a diameter of about one centimeter and had created a crater in the metal’s surface. If something like this were to happen to a weather satellite or an internet satellite this could create serious delays. Not only is it an inconvenience for us down here, but it is also a huge hazard for those on the ISS and other similar satellites. Space Junk is not something that will solve itself. Currently, humans send more satellites into orbit than satellites that fall out of orbit. Every year about 1,000 satellites are launched, and only about 200 fall out of orbit and burn up in our atmosphere. Throughout the project, I will collect and analyze data that has already been created to create models that show the general public the severity of this problem. I also hope to identify one or more solutions. I expect to find a lot of data on space junk that is pretty big and to use the data to create models and to show how this is a problem. The harder part will be to find data and create models to then show what the best solution might be and how to go about getting rid of space junk. This research would be a great step forward and will perhaps show the general public as well as companies that this is a huge issue. In the future, I hope to use these findings to do further research in college and perhaps create physical solutions to this very real problem.