Daan Roosegaarde's Space Waste Lab takes aim at space debris with LEDs

Daan Roosegaarde
The latest project from Dutch artist and designer Daan Roosegaarde, called Space Waste Lab, uses real-time data and long-range LEDs to highlight the mounting problem of space debris. Right now there are more than 29,000 objects (larger than 10 centimetres) floating around the earth - parts of broken rockets and satellites - with no solution in sigh of how to deal with the problem.

Space Waste Lab is supported by space experts such as ESA (European Space Agency), students, visitors, and the team of Studio Roosegaarde.

Phase 1 starts with a large outdoor Space Waste Lab performance of LEDs and real-time tracking information to visualise space waste in the sky on an altitude of 200 to 20,000km. There is currently 8.1 million kilo of space waste. Special designed software and camera technology developed in the last year enables the Space Waste Lab performance to work, in compliance with strict safety and aviation regulations.

To enhance the experience of the Space Waste Lab performance the surrounding environment is darkened by shutting down streetlights and commercial signs. The indoor exhibition consists of a real piece of space waste accompanied by an education programme with space experts and amateurs to create a new perspective on space waste. More than 2,000 school students have applied already.

Phase 2 is a multi-year program to capture space waste and upcycle it into sustainable products.

Space Waste Lab is a part of Roosegaarde's larger vision for Schoonheid, a Dutch word meaning both beauty and cleanliness, as in clean space, clean air, clean water, clean energy.

Space Waste Lab can be visited from 5 October 2018 until 19 January 2019 at Kunstlinie in Almere, a new town west of Amsterdam.

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