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In 2022, the new space race will get more heated, crowded and dangerous

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Over the past few years, the night sky has changed more rapidly than at any time in human history, and the trend will continue in 2022 as our relationship with the space beyond our planet’s atmosphere grows more intimate. But there are consequences that come with changing relationships. This holds true even for something as seemingly benign as how our species interacts with the cold, dead vacuum behind the blue sky above us.

In early December, my small town held a nighttime holiday festival where hundreds gathered on our historic plaza to count down the lighting of a huge tree. Minutes after the three-story pine burst out of the darkness into a new state of multicolored glowing glory, a friend pointed up at the clear New Mexico night sky. Get the CNET Science newsletter

“What’s that? Reindeer? Wait… no, seriously, what is that?”

I looked up toward the top of the illuminated evergreen where a string of shimmering lights moved in an impossibly straight line, appearing to emanate from the tip of the tree. The lights moved quickly across the darkened dome above us, occasionally fading in and out, but always maintaining their straight path.

I recognized it immediately.

“Starlink,” I told my […]

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