Our Fragile Space

Our Fragile Space

Included in admission

Space Pavilion 
10am – 4pm

Jodrell Bank welcomes Our Fragile Space, a photography exhibition about the reality of space debris, this summer.

With the exponential growth of satellites orbiting just a few hundred kilometres above our heads, Max Alexander wanted to make a contribution to the understanding of what is happening in the near-space environment, including the impact on optical and radio astronomy, and the loss of the night sky for humanity. It also became apparent to him that he needed to tell the wider story of how space is intertwined into our everyday lives and society. Much of modern life is inextricably governed by its use and all the unnoticed benefits we gain are taken for granted. He set out to highlight the measures that are being taken to protect this fragile environment, including solutions, mitigation and the emerging field of space sustainability, to show the whole picture in one photography-led project.

A year in the making, his photography for Our Fragile Space took him to the top of volcanoes in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, clean rooms across Europe, mega-constellation launches on both coasts of the United States within a few days of each other, and a farm in England. It also took him on a journey through the space sector: space agencies, government, military, regulation, insurance market, astronomy and space sustainability enterprises.

Our Fragile Space takes a human perspective, from the ground looking up, connecting the Earth to the near-space environment. Max chose this everyday approach to make the issues more tangible because space debris is just up there, part of Earth’s environment.

Human activity over hundreds of years has led to global changes on the land, in the oceans, with plastic in particular, in the atmosphere, leading to climate change – and now space with space debris. We are only 65 years into the Space Age so we have an opportunity to not repeat the same behaviour. The sustainability imperative is becoming embedded within us; protecting the near-space environment is in everyone’s interests.

About Max Alexander

An international photographer and creative director, Max Alexander specialises in science communication through visual storytelling. He works for a large number of prestigious organisations around the world including the UK Space Agency, European Space Agency, European Southern Observatory, UK research councils, book publishers and magazines. He has photographed Nobel Prize winners, astronauts and world leaders. Max has had two science-led exhibitions at the Royal Albert Hall: Explorers of the Universe and Illuminating Atoms. His passion for understanding the universe and making it meaningful to others has motivated him to work in the arena – and he is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Exhibition curated by Max Alexander.

Exhibition delivered in partnership with Discover the Bluedot and SKAO.