Daan Roosegaarde. Image courtesy of studioroosegaarde.net

Meet the artist who plans to bin space waste

Daan Roosegaarde knows there’s tons of junk in the heavens and thinks he can find a way to get rid of it

The Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde can make even the most terrible aspects of our modern world look beautiful. You may have seen pictures of his recent Waterlicht project, a virtual, light-show simulation of a flood that demonstrated how high water levels might rise thanks to climate change; or read about his Smog Free Project, a public air-purification tower and jewellery making concern, which extracts pollution from the atmosphere and turns it into decorative rings.

They’re all ambitious undertakings, yet for 2019, Roosegaarde is setting his sights even higher - to focus on the problems of space junk. The artist’s Space Waste Lab is a new venture between Studio Roosegaarde and the European Space Agency, which aims to tackle the growing problem or earth’s orbital rubbish. 


Space Waste Performance. Image courtesy of studioroosegaarde.net
Space Waste Performance. Image courtesy of studioroosegaarde.net

“The Earth is surrounded by 29,000 pieces of space debris,” the artist explains in a new Wired  article, outlining his project, “defined as objects larger than 10cm, that come from broken rockets and satellites.” This rubbish can damage satellites and space craft, and disrupt our communications systems.

Roosegaarde and co hope to find ways to remove, recycle or repurpose the waste, possibly for power generation. However, the Space Waste Lab also seeks to raise awareness of the problem.

That’s why its staging a show at just outside Amsterdam at Kunstlinie Almere Flevoland in the Netherlands. The Space Waste Lab exhibition – which is on until 19 Jan digs into the problem and possible solutions in great depth. However, for the show’s last two evenings, Roosegaarde and co are livening things up, with the Space Waste Lab Performance, an outdoor laser lightshow beside KAF, during which they will pinpoint the exact locations of these unwanted lumps of space junk with lasers, as they orbit otherwise unseen above our heads.

For more on this go here; to learn more about this important artist, look out for our Daan Roosegaarde book, due out later this year; and for more on celestial art, take a look at Universe.