Space Diplomacy: Petition to UN COPUOS by ESO and Astronomy Groups

OrganizationsOther ♦ Published: March 8, 2023; 23:52 ♦ (Vindobona)

In a paper submitted to the United Nations Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), an international collaboration involving the European Southern Observatory (ESO) proposes a new Expert Group to protect dark and quiet skies.

Astronomers have already begun to notice the effects of the dramatic increase in space traffic, but many of us have also never seen an unclouded night sky, and over one-third of humanity cannot see the Milky Way. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons, ESO/Yuri Beletsky, CC BY 4.0

Satellites launched into orbit around the Earth have improved our ability to communicate globally instantly; however, there are concerns about their effect on astronomical observations and the preservation of dark and quiet skies. There are currently over 8000 active and defunct satellites orbiting the Earth, and this number is expected to continue to grow. In the next decade, 100 000…