We are about to get a new star It can outperform everything else In the night sky except for the moon: a gigantic internet satellite the size of a typical New York studio apartment so that regular cell phones could access the internet from space.
Just a few years ago, something very bright could have meant something completely different. A supernova might make us far away, that would make us look up to contemplate our very existence and our place in the eternal universe. Or perhaps a guilty one, the harbinger of terrible or great news that humans whispered as they have done for thousands of years.
It could be a new and amazing giant space station, a wide distance Chassis to usher in a new era of exploration and excitement on our way to Mars and the moons of Jupiter.
But today, a new point of light on the celestial sphere has nothing to do with the infinite star field that has captured our collective imagination since the dawn of consciousness – giant nuclear formations that exploded eons ago, millions of light years away.
The stars create the same substance that makes us all and everything around us. They are also an integral part of our culture, our personal and collective psyche and myths. The stars are everywhere and We are all “stars”.
there no one Of those heavenly wonders in this new thing. Its giant antenna and solar panels will reflect sunlight back at us in the middle of the night, adding some artificial noise to our favorite eternal landscapes and ruining the view of ground-based telescopes around the world.
Its name is BlueWalker 3, and it’s made of glass and metal alloys by a telecommunications startup called AST SpaceMobilewhich hails from Greater Texas, the dry version of Florida where everything is huge, as the CEO of AST boasts on Twitter.
Made in TX – Size matters! # BlueWalker3The 693-square-foot matrix will be LEO’s largest ever commercial communications array. We’re building the first and only broadband cellular network in space backed by 2,400 patents and patent claims pending. Remove the tags before the flight today!!! ??????????????? #5 g??????? pic.twitter.com/Vx4oNVNYCK
– AbelAvellan August 31, 2022
BlueWalker 3 will Today’s launch took place folded atop a reusable SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. When unfolded in orbit, it will become a 693-square-foot flat machine, a giant phased array antenna designed to provide broadband Internet access to people on Earth.
You will just have to sign up for the service and you will be able to access TikTok anywhere there is coverage Using any 4G or 5G phone. Which sounds great if you don’t think about the consequences.
Astronomers at the Vera C. Rubin Observatory and the International Astronomical Union Center for the Protection of Dark and Quiet Sky from Interfering Satellite Constellation believe that this new giant communications satellite You will destroy our skies And it overlaps with celestial observations, just as Starlink does.
They are right. naturally, Elon Musk rejected them At the time, however, the influence of these constellations was widely documented.
This trend will only get worse. AST plans to put several of these satellites into low Earth orbit: More than 100 spacecraft by the end of 2024. Many of them will be larger, reflecting more sunlight onto Earth during all hours of the day. This is above the current Starlink constellation, which already has 3,000 satellites, a number that will happen Grow to exceed 30,000.
The sky belongs to us all
These satellites are the property of the public interest. Space does not belong to anyone. It belongs to everyone. It has been so for as long as we exist.
Allowing Musk, Bezos, AST, and the rest of these companies to invade our only view of the universe through tens of thousands of giant satellites and antennas ignores the source of the pollution that blinds our view of the universe.
Here’s how CEO of the European Space Agency Joseph Aschbacher Description of the presence of MUSK satellites for financial times: “You have one person who owns half of the active satellites in the world. That is quite amazing. De facto, he makes the rules. The rest of the world including Europe . . . is not responding fast enough.”
AST, starlinkAnd the and amazon Project Kuiper They justify their actions with exactly the same claim Reason for being: THey, they’re on a mission to “eliminate the connectivity gaps that today’s five billion mobile subscribers face, and finally bring broadband to the billions who remain unconnected.”
And the Yes, having internet access everywhere is great. It is a powerful educational and business tool that can benefit many in remote and poor areas. It can even help Country stop illegal invasion another country.
All of the above is true, but these points are part of a faulty argument. The truth is that we can also spend money building the terrestrial infrastructure for antennas to provide these same services, which can also be flexible. It just requires a bigger investment And profits are not as scalable as private companies want.
But we can do this without destroying something that has been with us for tens of thousands of years.
These companies steal what we had Since the dawn of history without asking anyone first, just so they can sell convenience. From microwave dinner to Recipes in a box To food and grocery delivery apps like 2-year-olds we just want to get it all right away, that means being able to TikTok from the middle of your desert trip to show off your cool new jacket and pants. Immediately. Not when you are at home. It should be now. Even if it means you will be very ruined The same dark sky you traveled for miles to see.
It seems to me that all of us She must have an opinion on this. That this giant satellite that can shine brighter than any star is a call to action. Maybe it’s time to say enough, to stop it, take a stand and say, “No, you’ve already destroyed the surface of the planet in the name of profit. Let’s not touch our stars too. “
AST has not responded to our request for comment by the time of publication.