Strauss Center News

Updates from the Strauss Center and our affiliated distinguished scholars and fellows


Dr. Moriba Jah Discusses the Human-Induced Challenges Developing in Near-Earth Space

Mar 30, 2020 |

Dr. Moriba Jah, Strauss Center Distinguished Scholar, Program Lead of the Space Security and Safety (SSS) program at the Strauss Center, Director of the Advanced Sciences and Technology Research in Astronautics (ASTRIA) program, and Associate Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics in the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, recently published an op-ed on SpaceWatch.Global. In it, he asserts that humans are doing the same thing in near-earth space that we have done to our own terrestrial ecosystem: exploiting a finite resource without regard for the forthcoming detrimental consequences. In the context of near-earth space, the continued geopolitical and commercial space race has created a dangerous degree of congestion without a proper framework of space traffic management to mitigate any potentially disastrous collisions.

Dr. Jah then discussed how we can get in front of this problem. In order to develop a “global framework to maximize space safety, security, and sustainability,” proper metrics are required. Drawing wisdom from the lessons learned of human degradation of our own environment, Dr. Jah argues that academics should not wait for governments or companies to take the lead on such initiatives. Rather, this effort can be led by “an international consortium of academics,” who work in tandem to create projects such as UT Austin’s ASTRIAGraph and other space monitoring systems. Such efforts, he notes, lack the “exquisite sensing capabilities” possessed by governments and commercial actors. Thus, it is imperative that the academic community leading the charge continue to foster cross-sector partnerships. Read the full article here.