Space Trash Signs: Immersive event reveals danger of space junk


A pioneering new campaign called Space Trash Signs Live, highlighting the huge—but largely unknown—threat posed to the Earth by space debris, is being shown live in an innovative immersive experience today (27 June) at Germany’s Festival der Zukunft.

As first reported by Mediashotz back in April Space Trash Signs Live will be presented by Shruthi Subramanian, part of the Innovation Team at Serviceplan, and Christopher Kebschull, CTO and Co-Founder of OKAPI:Orbits, a German aerospace company dedicated to protecting the future of space travel and the safety of space operations.

Space Trash Signs

The pioneering Space Trash Signs campaign introduces constellations made from space debris, bringing to life the reality of the 160 million pieces of human-made space debris circling the planet and how this space junk can and will impact critical services on Earth if action is not taken to deal with it.

The presentation will take place at the planetarium dome at Deutsches Museum in Munich equipped with state-of-the-art Zeiss projectors.

Space Trash Signs: Pioneering immersive space junk show.

Incorporating immersive and engaging visuals, the talk titled “Space Trash Signs: Understanding Space Pollution” is focussed on making the problem of space debris and the available data simple and accessible for the general public.

Shruthi Subramanian, Copywriter, Serviceplan, said: “This visualisation isn’t just about showing the problem, it’s about inspiring action.

“We believe a cleaner space is a shared responsibility, and by understanding the dangers of space pollution, we can work together to protect this finite resource.”

Space Trash Signs – which was created by agency Serviceplan, in partnership with Privateer, the space observation company founded by Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple – initiative reimagines pollution as ten different constellations.

Each one has been named to demonstrate the threat this space junk poses to important services we take for granted every day, such as telecoms, navigation, disaster management, environmental protection, agriculture, financial services, and more.

It is hoped the campaign will not only educate the public but provoke action, such as signing the Zero Debris Charter.

Christopher Kebschull, CTO and Co-Founder of OKAPI:Orbits, said: “Spreading awareness on matters of space is challenging. People tend to perceive distant events as less relevant and urgent.

“Still, space-based services are a core element of everyday life. We want to do more to bridge this gap because the voice of the public is crucial for a sustainable space economy.”

ESA backing

Launched with backing from the European Space Agency, along with other aerospace companies, space agencies, and scientists around the world, the Space Trash Signs initiative aims to increase public awareness of space pollution as the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS) meets for a pivotal session from 19 to 28 June.

Privateer collects over 800 million data points on objects in the Earth’s orbit every day, including their position, speed, country of origin, parent object, size and shape, and this data was deployed by AI to find visual patterns in space junk over the areas it could impact – and highlight the potentially stark consequences.

Pieces of space garbage travel at high speeds of 15 kilometres per second (just over nine miles a second), meaning even a small piece can cause significant damage to any of the vital satellites in orbit.

For example, ‘The Broken Compass’ signifies the loss of navigation services such as GPS, which would affect 6.5 billion people and make aviation impossible.

‘The Great 404’, named after the ‘page not found’ error in the web browser, signifies how space rubbish could take out satellite internet and negatively impact the 43 million people who rely on it, potentially isolating whole communities.

‘The Lost Harvest’ represents the loss of environmental data that can only be collected through satellites, affecting 509.6 million square kilometres of land and potentially causing famine and environmental disasters.’

Beyond the screening at the Festival der Zukunft, which is dedicated to showcasing cutting-edge technology and innovative ideas with speakers from tech, policy, art, and entrepreneurial businesses, the incredible Space Trash Signs immersive experience will also be shown in more than 700 planetariums worldwide.