Space Junk – A Birds Eye View
As billionaires launch their own spaceships and modern-day space exploration grows, space junk is becoming a real issue. Tom McCarthy, Motiv Co-Founder and Vice President of Business Development spoke to the Irish Tech Podcast on the growing issue of space debris and how the technology and techniques of today can help solve the problems of tomorrow. Since space debris poses a risk to future space missions and general environmentalism, the solution isn’t going to be easy. However, that’s no reason to count it out. Tom noted that there has been an explosion of awareness around this growing issue — and Motiv is one of the leaders helping to solve it.
One recent example of space debris is the 23-ton core stage from a Chinese Long March 5B booster that crashed to Earth in May. This event started a wider conversation about orbital debris and responsible spacefaring. Tom explained that we live in an era where space launch has become more cost-efficient and is starting to deliver on the promise of tourism. But at what cost? And who is responsible for space debris? Tom said that we, as a global society, need to find ways to address the issue of space debris in order to keep space travel viable, while maintaining global infrastructure.
Currently, Tom shared, there are different techniques for dealing with space debris that is being studied. And space robotics could be a good solution for safe debris reentry. As a space robotics company, Motiv designs motion-controlled products, particularly robotic arms. With multidisciplinary operations, Motiv puts them together to yield new robotics capabilities. While their technology has been recently seen on the Mars rover arm, it could be potentially used to clean up debris in a variety of ways. As we focus on cleaning up space and pave the way for new technologies, Tom noted that the concern for orbital debris will continue to be addressed over the next couple of years as more and more companies will invest in it and create services specifically for it. In a shared area-like space, the most important part is that international awareness continues to grow, along with a shared sense of responsibility. So, let’s work together to clean up space!
Listen to the full interview below