Policy ForumSpace Science

Astronomy and the Degrading Environment

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Science  21 Apr 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5465, pp. 443-445
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5465.443

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Accelerating man-made degradation of the environment is making the sky and astronomical objects harder to see. Light pollution, radio frequency interference, space debris, and activities in outer space are restricting astronomy, remote sensing, and telecommunications. Without concerted effort and international cooperation, science-based policies to establish emissions standards and similar measures to protect the space environment cannot be formulated, monitored, or enforced. All users of space need to consider the consequences of projects before irreversible actions are taken.