Space WiFi Plans Could Lead To Catastrophic Crashes, Study Warns

By Holly Brockwell on at

If you've ever fancied dying by being beaned in the head by an errant piece of space junk, you might just be in luck. A study by an aerospace engineering expert shows our plans for space WiFi could cause a whole load of satellite crashes.

Big-name companies like Google and SpaceX are hoping to launch an army of mini-satellites as soon as next year, with the intention of beaming internet down to Earth. However, Dr Hugh Lewis from the Uni of Southampton reckons they might not have thought this all the way through: he created a 200-year simulation to show the effects of all that extra stuff in space, and it's not good.

Satellite crashes could increase by as much as 50%, meaning loads more broken bits of tech in space which could cause even more crashes. Plus the WiFi would probably go down, but that seems slightly less important.

The research was funded by the European Space Agency (ESA), which wants to establish rules for the so-called 'mega-constellations' of satellites, including ensuring they burn up safely in the atmosphere when their missions are over.

The planet is already surrounded by an impressive crust of crap, which means if aliens do exist, they probably haven't visited because we've got the equivalent of old mattresses in our front garden. We're letting the whole space neighbourhood down, frankly. [The Guardian]

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