Texas Aerospace Engineering Receives ‘Genius Grant’

AUSTIN (KXAN) — An aerospace engineer and professor at the University of Texas at Austin has been awarded an honor called a “genius grant.”

UT Austin said astrodynamicist and space ecologist Moriba Jha is one of 25 people selected for the five-year MacArthur Fellowship.

The university explained that the scholarship invests in a person’s originality, insight and potential, and recipients are nominated based on talent and dedication to their pursuits.

“They can use their scholarship to advance their experience, engage in bold new work, or, if they wish, change fields or change career direction,” the scholarship said. website Read it.

Jah works to track more than 30,000 man-made objects orbiting Earth, UT said. It has developed tools to determine the exact locations and possible paths of these objects, which include active and inactive satellites, rocket bodies and other debris.

This allows scientists to know where the objects are relative to each other and if/when a collision might occur, according to UT. the tools ASTRIAGraph and Wayfinderare online and available to all.

“Orbital highways are becoming congested and the services and capabilities we depend on are at risk of being lost due to orbital space debris collisions, and it is very difficult to predict where and when these things might happen,” Jha said in a press release.

Jah is also an advocate for space ecology, said UT, who views Earth’s orbit as a natural resource in need of protection. Jah proposed policies to prevent single-use satellites from polluting orbit and instead incentivize companies to reuse old satellites.

Jah is the 10th UT Austin faculty member to receive a MacArthur Foundation grant, according to the university.

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