Moriba Jah, Astrodynamicist, 2022 MacArthur Fellow, Austin, TX, photo courtesy UT Austin

Space environmentalist Moriba Jah, an associate professor of Aerospace Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, has been awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, also referred to as the Genius Grant.

The award recognizes Jah for creating the world’s first real-time streaming of near-miss collisions and activity in space. He also developed ASTRIAGraph for identifying and tracking objects in space. And Wayfind, a new version for the general public to use.

Jah has tracked and monitored more than 30,000 pieces of space junk and other man-made objects orbiting the earth.

Jah is one of 25 individuals selected for the five-year fellowship which comes with an $800,000 no-strings-attached grant. Recipients are nominated based on proven talent and extraordinary originality and dedication to their creative pursuits.

“The orbital highways are getting crowded, and the services and capabilities that we depend upon are in jeopardy of being lost due to collisions from orbiting space debris, and it’s very difficult to predict where and when those things might happen,” Jah said in a news statement.

Jah advocates for environmentally protecting space and eliminating space junk and pollution. He has proposed that companies must take responsibility for the satellites they deploy in space. Instead of abandoning them in space, they should reuse them, according to Jah.

Jah is also co-founder and chief scientist at Privateer, a private space venture co-founded with Alex Fielding, who co-founded Ripcord, and Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple.

In 2019, Wired Magazine named Jah as one of the 25 people racing to save our planet. He was also selected as a 2019 TED Fellow.

“Jah is the 10th UT Austin faculty member awarded a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, joining: Monica Muñoz Martinez (History, 2021), Livia Schiavinator Eberlin (Chemistry, 2018), Annie Baker (Theatrical Arts, 2017), Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Theatre Arts, 2016),  Jacqueline Jones (History, 1999), David Hillis (Integrative Biology, 1999), Nancy Moran (Integrative Biology, 1997), Nora C. England (Linguistics, 1993), Philip Uri Treisman (Mathematics, 1992), Thomas G. Palaima (Classics, 1985), David Stuart (Linguistics & Archeology, 1984), and Karen K. Uhlenbeck (Mathematics, 1983),” according to UT Austin.

In 2019, Jah gave the keynote talk at Silicon Hills News’ inaugural SpaceATX conference. Here’s the video from his talk>

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Space Junk presentation by Dr. Moriba K. Jah, director of the Advanced Sciences and Technology Research in Astronautics (ASTRIA) program, and Associate Professor of Aerospace engineering and Engineering Mechanics in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin.

Moriba Jah, Astrodynamicist | 2022 MacArthur Fellow

Astrodynamicist Moriba Jah envisions transparent and collaborative solutions for creating a circular space economy that improves oversight of Earth’s orbital spheres. #MacFellow He’s a 2022 MacArthur Fellow, our award that celebrates and inspires the creative potential of individuals through a no-strings-attached fellowship.