Innovation That Matters

Space Waste Lab

Light performance highlights the issue of space waste


A performance has been created by a social design lab in order to raise awareness about debris filling the skies.

While it has been engrained into the public that littering is unacceptable, little is ever discussed about space waste. A new project by Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde is aiming to change that. The Space Waste Lab performance visualizes space waste with a light performance representing its widespread impact. There are more than 29,000 objects larger than 10 centimetres floating around the earth. For example, parts of broken rockets and satellites are currently causing huge problems. This waste can damage active satellites, with collisions creating more space waste and disturbing digital communications. There is currently 8.1 million kilos of waste floating in space.

Phase one of the project is a unique large outdoor performance of LEDs. It also includes real-time tracking information to visualise space waste on an altitude of 200-20,000 kilometres. Tailored software and camera technology developed in the last year enables the performance to take place in compliance with strict safety and aviation regulations. To enhance the experience of the show, the surrounding area is darkened by turning off streetlights. The indoor exhibition also consists of a real piece of space waste and educational programme, with space experts and amateurs on hand to create a new perspective on space waste. More than 2,000 high school students have applied already. Phase two is a multi-year program to capture space waste and upcycle it into sustainable products.

Pollution is the mainstream media more than ever, with plastic pollution being the most prominent at present. Raising awareness and making an effort to reduce single-use plastic consumption is on the minds of many business leaders and innovators. Jellyfish mucus being used to help plastic waste in seawater is just one approach. Elsewhere, a yacht race was held purely to highlight the issue of plastic pollution. How do you avoid single-use plastics?




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