Is Starlink dangerous to human? This is the biggest concern about Starlink as Elon Musk SpaceX continues to launch more satellites.
Starlink satellites, like any other, emit radiation and transmit data using radio waves, and there will be many of them.
So far, the company has launched around 4000 satellites in low earth orbit, which is only a fraction of their 42,000 target.
Can this pose any danger to humans? Read on to find out.
Potential Harmful Effects of Starlink
The rapidly growing number of satellites poses a lot of threat to human activities and may be health. Some of these threats include:
SpaceX already boasts a lot of Starlink satellites in low earth orbit. With the company targeting 42,000 shortly, the already 4000 launched are causing collision worries.
This concern has been echoed by several organizations, including China Space Station and European Space Agency.
Despite Musk assuring the world the collision is unlikely, the first incident already took place.
The European Space Agency reported that they were forced to relocate one of their Earth observation satellites in September 2019 to avoid a collision.
Space Debris experts also showed concern in August 2021 when they reported to Space.com that Starlink satellites spacecraft are in a close encounter by 50% between them.
Starlink satellite train in low Earth orbit
Potential Health Risk
Another concern is a potential health risk that is usually associated with radio waves.
Satellites communicate by sending radio wave signals to your dish antenna.
As the number of satellites increases in low Earth orbit, there is fear of increased communication radio waves thereby possibly causing various health issues.
Exposure to frequency radio waves according to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) can cause heating of body tissues resulting in tissue damage.
However, that can only happen with an exposure to high-frequency radio wave levels.
Whether satellites will be able to produce high-frequency radio waves to the extent of damaging human tissues still remains a matter of research and debate.
Potential Astronomical Issues
There is a growing fear that the increasing number of Starlink satellites in low earth orbit may make it hard for astronomers to spot asteroids close to the Earth.
Apart from the number, the light streak produced by the devices can disrupt the observation by space-based telescopes.
Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) already complained about the disruption.
The bright reflective surface has also brought confusion to radio astronomy, according to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO).
Starlink satellites at night
Increased Space Debris
Experts link satellites with the increased space debris. Non-functional satellites possibly add thousands of pieces into orbit. This can cause serious consequences for spacecraft in the area.
Spoiling the Night Sky
Starlink creates significant light pollution that spoils the night sky. The satellites are highly reflective and fill the sky with artificial light, which also brings a lot of confusion to astronomers.
Research has it that one out of 15 light sources you will see in the sky at night will be satellites.
Humanity has a great connection with the stars that trace back to our existence.
I can’t think of anything with a better ointment for the human soul than watching the sky stars. Very soon, there will be no point on Earth where you can do that.
Night sky with stars
Interfere with the Climate
There is fear that space junk caused by mega constellations can change the chemistry of the atmosphere.
Another problem is the release of chemicals into the atmosphere, especially burning aluminum from dead Starlink satellites.
This can have an effect on the ozone layer and impact climate change.
What is SpaceX Doing to Mitigate the Problem?
Several organizations have warned SpaceX about the possible harmful effects of their satellites on humans.
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) urges Starlink to take steps to prevent potential environmental effects.
The union wants the company to consider limiting the number of satellite launches.
Starlink is also urged to minimize the amount of light created by the satellites.
Lastly, IAU wants the increasing space debris to be addressed through proper disposal of the satellites that are non-functional.
In response, SpaceX has shown a willingness to implement changes to its launch schedules.
The company also acknowledges the effect that its satellites’ lighting may have on astronomy.
They are now coating their satellites with dark materials to reduce the brightness.
To reduce space debris, the company has a plan to set up a ground-based system to attract non-functional satellites from orbit.
Does Starlink Emit Harmful Radiation?
Starlink is similar to 5G regarding the emission of microwaves.
This means we should expect more powerful radiation from Starlink microwaves than what the experts say 4G wireless systems cause.
Is Standing In Front of Starlink Dangerous?
The Starlink antenna is highly directional in signal transmission. However, we won’t say you will receive more intense radiation in front of the antenna than when standing elsewhere.
Radiation hits us from different sources without our consent, and it is hard to tell which source caused us harm.
That said, apart from blocking the signal, standing in front of Starlink is not dangerous.
Can You Install Starlink in Your House?
Starlink mostly targets home users, especially the ones in remote areas.
Installing it in your home is straightforward, and you can complete it in just a few steps.
However, the dish must be outside, preferably in an unobstructed raised location. The router, on the other hand, works best when installed indoors.
Scientists have not fully explored the dangers of SpaceX Starlink but are constantly monitoring.
For that reason, it is still a bit hard to conclude whether the satellites are secure.
However, issues such as collision and interference with astronomy have already been reported.