The Space Waste Lab

“A multi-year living lab to capture space waste and upcycle it into sustainable products. It currently visualizes the space waste above your head real-time with large beams of light.”

https://www.studioroosegaarde.net/project/space-waste-lab

SPACE WASTE LAB is the multi-year living lab with the European Space Agency and Studio Roosegaarde to capture space waste and upcycle it into sustainable products. The current SPACE WASTE LAB PERFORMANCE visualizes the space waste above your head real-time with large beams of light. The ambition is to create the first phase of Shooting Stars from captured space waste at Dubai World Expo 2020 or Floriade 2022.

While there is an increasing focus in popular culture on space and space exploration, space waste is an aspect of human interaction with space that is almost completely overlooked. The thousands of particles floating around in space actually pose a potentially catastrophic threat in the event that any two particles ever do collide.

I chose this story as a focus because it turns a real space issue and represents it in a light installation to spread knowledge about the subject. While this project remains in a very conceptual realm, it shows what is possible for the planet’s future if everyone got a little more creative.

We hardly associate outer space with the pollution issues we deal with here down on earth, but this project only widens the scope of human alterations on the natural environment. There is an important connection to be made to the growing environmental movement against climate change and nature. Does outer space count as a part of nature? Are we also responsible for the protection of space the way we are for the earth? How will all of this play out as outer space only becomes more prevalent in earthly life?

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