Moriba Jah
The International Space Station Author: NASA
2022

Moriba Jah

FN’21 – Space Environmentalist

stewardship of land, sea, and space

meet moriba

Moriba Jah, an associate professor of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at The University of Texas at Austin, is the holder of the Mrs. Pearlie Dashiell Henderson Centennial Fellowship in Engineering. He has worked with a team to develop ASTRIAGraph, an award-winning, first of a kind, map that shows where objects are predicted to be located in space, in near real time. He is a fellow of multiple organizations, including TED, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, American Astronautical Society, International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety, Royal Astronomical Society and the Air Force Research Laboratory.

stewardship of land, sea, and space
Nominated by: George Kourounis FI'09 Anna Jackson TM'15 Bob Atwater LF'05
Class of 2022 Location Toronto, Canada

The first space object, Sputnik, was launched in 1967. In 2021, we’re estimating that there are nearly 500,000 objects currently orbiting the Earth. The problem is that we are tagging and monitoring only 40,000 of them. The rest are totally unaccounted for, floating out there completely untracked. The space sector still operates like the wild, wild West. Satellites and other spacecraft are launched into orbit and operate in an environment without coordination or planning, with no global governing body. Recently, Russia blew up one of its own satellites in an orbit. The resultant debris cloud now threatens other working satellites and human life on the space station. 

As a witness to the environmental detriment from abandoning our intergenerational contract of stewardship and custodianship, embodied by some of our indigenous people, my goal is to recruit empathy across humanity toward this problem. My effort is to deliver the technology and knowledge needed to create a safe, secure and operationally sustainable space domain. We don’t know what we don’t measure. Our team thrives to be a Waze application for space, by collecting, aggregating, curating, and exploiting globally sourced measurements of stuff out there. 

“I felt an indescribable presence that came forth asking me if I was willing to do whatever I could to help humanity remember this original contract of stewardship—of our home and the universe as a whole, where all things are interconnected.”

- Moriba Jah

I aim to provide a way for machines to show us ourselves, and the consequences of our actions on our long-term sustainability and to connect environmentalism of land, air and sea, to space. v. Indigenous peoples had knowledge about how to live in balance with life. With this realization, I felt an indescribable presence that came forth asking me if I was willing to do whatever I could to help humanity remember this original contract of stewardship—of our home and the universe as a whole, where all things are interconnected.

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