Natalie Panek: Let's clean up the space junk orbiting Earth
Natalie Panek - Rocket scientist, explorer
Natalie Panek's work is focused on the idea that accountability for our environments never goes away. Full bio
that enable our daily lives
deserve our attention
rely on satellite infrastructure every day
and to communicate.
and environmental monitoring,
and energy markets.
reach the end of their mission life.
effectively become space junk,
on a beautiful, sunny day
blowing through your hair.
your car stutters and stalls
but to abandon your car
and into a shoulder lane
of other traffic.
that you relied on in your everyday life.
all cluttered with broken down vehicles
of other traffic.
that would be strewn everywhere
of the satellite industry.
over many, many years,
as a temporary solution.
international laws in space
only a total of three launch attempts.
from all around the world
of more satellites into orbit,
is only going to increase in the future,
things like the possibility
constellations being launched.
to different orbits
we send satellites
by Earth's atmosphere,
above Earth as the Earth rotates,
or television broadcast, for example.
could remain there for centuries.
coined "the graveyard,"
are intentionally placed
of common operational orbits.
launched since the late 1950s,
is currently operational,
that are no longer working,
of marble-sized debris
to space missions,
that we rely on each and every day.
has become increasingly worrisome,
and international efforts
of additional debris.
hasn't been working for years.
for those dead geostationary spacecraft
is binding under international law,
implemented through national mechanisms.
the debris that's already up there.
to limit the future creation of debris.
an interesting comparison
we interact with our environments,
of the world's highest peak,
that there's speculation
of penalties and legal obligations.
is to persuade climbers
climbers who bring down extra waste,
voluntary cleanup trips.
should police themselves.
efforts at conservation
we shouldn't do everything in our power
that we rely and depend on,
and inadequate infrastructure
on a satellite breaks down,
opportunities for repairs,
about how we designed satellites?
they were built in,
international laws with teeth
disposal of satellites
need to be charged a deposit
some quota of debris.
needs to have technology on board
launched in 2014, for example,
because it's small,
or in larger orbits
like the size of school buses,
like high-powered lasers
or space mechanics.
on a satellite,
on a spacecraft
the fuel tanks on our cars?
of satellites orbiting around the Earth.
or cleanup options we come up with,
and politics that we have to sort out.
to use space sustainably yet.
to change the way we live and work
beyond the boundaries of Earth.
in the name of learning and innovation,
for our environments never goes away.
in the low Earth and geostationary orbits,
launching new satellites
leave a broken down car
that make those activities possible.
on the environment surrounding Earth,
that together we must reduce our impact.
About the speaker:Natalie Panek - Rocket scientist, explorer
Natalie Panek's work is focused on the idea that accountability for our environments never goes away.
Why you should listen
Natalie Panek's love of space and aviation led her to obtain a private pilot's license, design and subsequently drive a solar-powered car across North America, and build space robotics. She has participated in internships at NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center and at NASA's Ames Research Center, where she worked on a mission to Mars. With degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering, Panek has contributed to a number of space projects including MDA's satellite servicing initiative and ESA's 2020 ExoMars rover program. She currently works in Mission Systems at MDA's robotics and automation division, on Canadian space robotics and other space exploration programs.
Panek founded her website, thePanekRoom, to encourage women to pursue challenging careers in non-traditional fields and explore the outdoors. She was featured on the editorial site "Women You Should Know" as a STEM Rock Star who is revolutionizing how we think about women in tech and Canada's Financial Post describes Panel as "a vocal advocate for women in technology." She is also a member of the prestigious Explorer's Club and a Fellow of Royal Canadian Geographic Society. PANEK is the 2013 recipient of the University of Calgary Graduate of the Last Decade Award and the Northern Lights Award Foundation 2013 Rising Star in aerospace. She also joins an elite group of women as one of WXN's Top 100 Most Powerful Women (2014), Forbes' 30 Under 30 in Manufacturing and Industry (2015), Flare's inaugural 30 Under 30 list (2015) and one of Canada's Greatest Women Explorers by Canadian Geographic (2016).
(Photo: Geneviève Charbonneau)
Natalie Panek | Speaker | TED.com