Last week’s poll: priorities for dealing with space debris

Engineer readers trust in technology to solve space debris problem

It should come as no surprise that readers of this magazine trust in their fellow engineers’ ingenuity to solve most problems. We saw this again last week with a clear majority – 53 per cent – of the 336 respondents to our poll choosing accelerating the development of debris-clearing technologies as the priority for dealing with the swarming abundance of man-made debris in orbit that threatens satellites and could worsen if plans to launch constellations of communications satellites to improve broadband data coverage go ahead. The next largest group, 37 per cent, thought safe deorbiting systems on all satellites should be the priority, while six per cent called for a moratorium on satellite constellation launches.

Another four per cent of respondents declined to pick an option, and some commenters noted that they had done this because we did not provide an ‘all of the above’ or ‘some combination of solutions’ option. We do this in all of our polls because it would be the most practical solution in many of the scenarios we present, and therefore the best way to get a meaningful result is to ask which is the best single option. From the small number of respondents declining to pick an option, it appears that the large majority of our readers understand this.

Please continue to send us your opinions on this topic.