Author Topic: Master of Science in Space Studies Thesis Idea  (Read 1236 times)

Offline GeneC1

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Master of Science in Space Studies Thesis Idea
« on: 05/28/2017 09:47 PM »
Hello everyone.
I am about to start working on my master thesis for space studies. I had some ideas but they seem to be too wide in scope for a thesis project, so I wanted to get some feedback and see what kind of ideas you had. I am really excited to finish my degree, but I am also slightly overwhelmed because the papers I wrote during my degree were mainly research papers, while a thesis is something where I must pose a relevant question/issue and then answer it based on analysis.
My main idea was to write about the issue of space junk in orbit. Obviously this is a very relevant issue, but I am trying to figure out how to scope it down in size so that I could cover it in detail, but focus in on a more narrowed topic.
My other idea was to write on the topic of space law. The focus would be on whether or not there needs to be an updated outer space treaty of sorts, considering the commercial space enterprise capabilities, national military capabilities, and the increase in the number of space capable nations. However, I feel that it is still to wide in scope.
If you have good ideas for a good master's thesis that I could consider, I would really appreciate any help.
Thank you for your time

Offline Phil Stooke

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Re: Master of Science in Space Studies Thesis Idea
« Reply #1 on: 05/28/2017 10:03 PM »
Strictly speaking this request should be answered by your supervisor, and you should certainly follow that path.  However, if you were my student I would suggest this: 

For 'space junk' you should start with a very thorough survey of two things - the literature about orbital debris, including mention of it in treaties, and the history of the problem itself, including sources of debris and reported debris strikes on the ISS, the Shuttle orbiters, the Long Duration Exposure Facility and anything else you can find records of.

Those surveys may themselves suggest the direction to follow afterwards.  But I would suggest two possible directions, either of which would make a good thesis.  One is mitigation - what steps can we take now and in the near future to reduce debris formation, shield assets or remove problem objects from orbit, what technologies are being discussed, what do the costs look like, what opportunities for commercial solutions might be found etc.  The second is the policy area - looking at treaties, laws, risk assessments, insurance options, rules about satellite or upper stage disposal and so on.  In either case try to end up with solid suggestions for solutions to the problem.  And maybe look ahead to the potential for debris problems at Mars and the Moon. 

Offline GeneC1

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Re: Master of Science in Space Studies Thesis Idea
« Reply #2 on: 05/28/2017 10:08 PM »
That is excellent way to look at that. I never thought about it separately that way. I am working with my supervisor, but I'm still in the early stages of trying to get a good topic. Generally speaking your former idea is what I am leaning more towards because I feel that I would write my paper with too much opinion if I used the latter idea.

I'm just trying to get my bearings with the thesis because it's unlike anything I have written. My biggest issue is picking a topic that won't simply end up being a massive research paper.

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