Over a hundred of astronomers have warned that Elon Musk's Starlink network, which included satellite constellations, could prove "extremely impactful" to astronomy and scientific progress and impact new discoveries.
A report released by Satellite Constellations 1 (Satcon1) workshop discovered that constellations of bright satellites will fundamentally change ground-based optical and infrared astronomy. It also shows that it could impact the appearance of the night's sky around the world.
Due to the stressing discovery, the research brought together more than 250 astronomers, satellite operators and dark-sky advocates in collaboration to better understand the impact of large satellite constellations.
"We find that the worst-case constellation designs prove extremely impactful to the most severely affected science programs," the report stated.
Elon Musk's SpaceX plans are to launch over 30,000 Starlink satellites into space in order to beam high-speed internet down to Earth.
The report however warned against it and said that; "Starlink alone may roughly double the number of space-based moving objects detectable by the unaided eye around twilight."
Although options to reduce the impact have been mentioned which include to "darken them", "keep them low", and "orient them to reflect less sunlight", astronomers still stand by the option of not launching the satellites at all.
The aim of the Starlink project is to provide high-speed internet to under-served parts of the world. The project with start with remote areas of Canada and will spread coverage down to the equator as more satellites are launched into space.
Pointing out the cons of the project, SpaceX has deployed a variety of tactics to reduce the visibility of its satellite network. The tactics includes painting the satellites black and twisting the position of their solar panels to make them less reflective.
With currently over 500 satellites in space, SpaceX has also been frequently blamed for disrupting views of the night's sky with its growing network of Starlink satellites. Last month, the private space firm was also criticised for blocking the view of the Comet Neowise, which only passed the earth every 6,800 years.
The American Astronomical Society (AAS), in collaboration with SpaceX, worked on the project to test and develop different methods to address the issue.
SpaceX also confirmed their work with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NROA) and the Green Bank Observatory (GBO) to find a solution to minimise the impact of its satellites.
"Even if that works, the satellite trails themselves will clearly be in the data – complicating data analysis and limiting discoveries. With tens of thousands of low-Earth orbit satellites, we find that generally no combination of mitigations can completely avoid the impacts of satellite trails on the science programs of the coming generation of optical astronomy facilities," stated professor Tony Tyson from the University of California.