D7MTWT Field Columbian Museum Moon Model

Space Junk In conversation with a space archaeologist.

Space Junk In conversation with a space archaeologist.

  • Words Sala Elise Patterson
  • Photograph Charles Carpenter/Field Museum Library/Alamy

Humans have left about 34,000 objects in space. Some are predictable (satellites), others not (discarded zip ties, and Elon Musk’s personal Tesla Roadster). Dr. Alice Gorman is a space archaeologist who is fascinated by this “space junk” and what it tells us about humanity and our future. Gorman began her career studying Aboriginal archaeology in her native Australia. Contemplation of the sky one night in 2002 led to an epiphany: Space is full of orbital junk with an archaeological record and heritage value. These days, Gorman goes by Dr. Space Junk. In her new book, Dr Space Junk vs The Universe: Archaeology and the Future, she allows us to consider the final frontier through a different lens. 

SALA ELISE PATTERSON: What meaning does archaeology take on in space?

ALICE GORMAN:...

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