Is Space a Finite Natural Resource? One Expert Says Yes

On the Space to Grow podcast, Astroscale’s Chris Blackerby and Charity Weeden bring their compelling experience and expertise to map out the technology, international policy, and scalability that will define the next generation of space exploration.


Looking at space sustainability through an environmental and ecological lens changes the perspective. It makes it more tangible and inclusive. That’s the message of Moriba Ja. Ja, currently a professor of aerospace engineering and other space-related safety and security topics, joined Space to Grow hosts Chris Blackerby and Charity Weeden. Ja has an impressive background, with tenures at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and the Air Force Research Laboratory.

Jah’s fascination with space began early, during days of looking at the sky while in military school. He then enlisted in the Air Force and noticed some strange lights in the Montana sky. It wasn’t aliens but space debris. That drove him to want to study engineering and learn about litter in the sky and orbital regimes.

“Most of humanity isn’t part of the space sustainability or exploration. It’s an insular community, but we need to connect people outside of space.” – Moriba Jah

“I began to see the orbital environment as another resource that needs protection,” Jar said. That idea kept building in his mind, becoming even clearer when he lived in Maui and saw the ecological impact to paradise.

“I was connecting what was going on in space and what was going on in Maui. Space needs to be recognized as an ecosystem and finite research. Then there will be environmental protection, and we can apply sustainability metrics for land, air, and ocean to space,” Ja shared.

Jah realized that to bring the message of space environmentalism to a broader audience. “Most of humanity isn’t part of the space sustainability or exploration. It’s an insular community, but we need to connect people outside of space,” he shared.

Jah opined that space debris is the result of people not complying with what science says, and the key to removal is sustainability. “Regimes are already at capacity, and 96% of it is trash. Whoever owns it should be responsible for removing it. If they don’t, then we need a body that can give that capacity back.”

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