Although we should all be extra hyped by what the Starlink satellites of SpaceX can do, as they can provide internet to all remote regions of the world, it seems that the truth might be a little overlooked.
Scientists have detected unintended electromagnetic radiation from onboard electronics in SpaceX Starlink satellites, potentially impacting astronomical research, as Fox Business reveals. The Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) telescope was used to observe 68 Starlink satellites, revealing the radiation emanating from electronics onboard the satellites.
Gyula Józsa, a co-author of the new research, explained as Fox Business quotes:
We believe that the early recognition of this situation gives astronomy and large constellation operators an opportunity to work together on technical mitigations pro-actively, in parallel to the necessary discussions to develop suitable regulations.
The discovery is novel and warrants further investigation. The authors initially focused on SpaceX satellites but expected similar unintended emissions from other low-Earth-orbiting satellites.
Over 56 nations can access satellite broadband through Starlink, a satellite broadband system run by the American aerospace company SpaceX. After 2023, it also wants to provide international mobile phone service. Starlink satellite launches by SpaceX began in 2019. In low Earth orbit (LEO) as of May 2023, Starlink comprises over 4,000 mass-produced tiny satellites that connect to certain ground transceivers through radio waves. Approximately 12,000 satellites will be deployed in total, with a potential later increase to 42,000.
A lot of scientists are afraid that lifting too many Starlink satellites into Earth’s orbit will result in major difficulties for astronomers to observe space objects from Earth while using telescopes. However, those in charge of SpaceX were confident that there wouldn’t be such a problem and that space exploration was not in danger.