The Most Difficult Space to Manage: Finding Order Amidst Complexity

Choose the space you think is the most difficult!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Feb 22, 2024 05:41
Are you ready to dive into the great debate of the most difficult spaces to manage? Welcome to StrawPoll, where we explore the intricacies and challenges of managing various spaces, both physical and virtual. Our platform hosts thousands of polls and rankings on a wide variety of topics, and now it's time for you to cast your vote! Engage with fellow enthusiasts, share your expertise, and help us settle the score on "What is the most difficult space to manage?" Be it a cluttered garage, a demanding social media page, or an overwhelming email inbox - we want your opinion! And if you think we've missed an option, don't hesitate to suggest it. So, gear up for an exciting journey and join the conversation as we uncover the ultimate space management challenge!

What Is the Most Difficult Space to Manage?

  1. 1
    Space debris managing and tracking the thousands of pieces of debris in space is challenging due to their high speeds and unpredictability.
    Space debris refers to the collection of defunct human-made objects in space, including old satellites, spent rocket stages, and fragments from disintegration, collision, or other events. These objects orbit around the Earth and pose a significant threat to operational satellites, spacecraft, and even astronauts.
    • Total number of debris objects: Over 20,000 objects larger than a softball and more than 500,000 objects larger than a marble are currently being tracked.
    • Size range: The size of debris objects ranges from as small as a paint fleck to as large as a derelict satellite or spent rocket stage.
    • Speed: Debris objects travel at incredibly high speeds, reaching up to 17,500 miles per hour (28,000 kilometers per hour).
    • Orbital altitudes: Debris can be found at various altitudes, including low Earth orbit (LEO), geostationary orbit (GEO), and medium Earth orbit (MEO).
    • Risk to operational satellites: Space debris poses a significant risk of collision with operational satellites, potentially causing damage or rendering them inoperable.
  2. 2
    The International Space Station managing a complex system of life support, experiments, and crew rotations in an environment with no gravity presents numerous challenges.
    The International Space Station (ISS) is a habitable space station that serves as a laboratory for scientific research and an international symbol of cooperation among nations. It is designed to support a crew of six astronauts and is in low Earth orbit.
    • Launch Date: November 20, 1998
    • First Component Launched: Zarya Functional Cargo Block
    • Crew Capacity: 6
    • Orbit Altitude: 408 km (253 miles)
    • Orbit Inclination: 51.6 degrees
  3. 3
    Mars managing a mission to Mars requires overcoming significant technological, logistical and health challenges.
    Mars is a fascinating planet in our solar system. It is also known as the Red Planet due to its reddish appearance. Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun, located just outside Earth's orbit. It is often studied and explored by scientists and researchers as it holds many mysteries and could potentially support life. Its unique landscape features vast deserts, towering mountains, deep canyons, and polar ice caps. The atmosphere on Mars is composed mainly of carbon dioxide, with traces of nitrogen and argon. It has a thin atmosphere, which makes the planet very cold, with average temperatures below freezing point. Mars experiences distinct seasons just like Earth. The Martian day, called a sol, is only slightly longer than a day on Earth, lasting approximately 24 hours and 37 minutes. Mars has two small moons named Phobos and Deimos.
    • Distance from the Sun: Approximately 142 million miles (228 million kilometers)
    • Diameter: About 4,200 miles (6,800 kilometers)
    • Gravity: Approximately 0.38 times that of Earth's gravity
    • Surface Temperature: Ranging from -195°F (-125°C) to 70°F (20°C)
    • Atmosphere: Primarily carbon dioxide with traces of nitrogen and argon
  4. 4
    The Sun
    Matúš Motlo · CC BY-SA 4.0
    The Sun managing the effects of solar flares and other phenomena on Earth's atmosphere and technology is a complex and ongoing challenge.
    The Sun is a star at the center of the Solar System. It is a nearly perfect sphere of hot plasma, constantly undergoing nuclear fusion, primarily converting hydrogen into helium. The Sun's immense gravity and heat make it the most dominant celestial body in our solar system.
    • Size: Diameter of about 1.39 million kilometers
    • Mass: About 333,000 times the mass of Earth
    • Composition: Consists primarily of hydrogen and helium
    • Surface Temperature: Around 5,500 degrees Celsius (9,932 degrees Fahrenheit)
    • Core Temperature: Approximately 15 million degrees Celsius (27 million degrees Fahrenheit)
    The Sun in other rankings
  5. 5
    Deep space managing long-duration missions beyond Earth's orbit requires overcoming challenges related to radiation exposure, isolation, and communication.
    Deep space refers to the vast, seemingly infinite region of outer space that lies beyond the immediate reach of our solar system and its celestial bodies. It is a region that is far removed from any planets, stars, or galaxies, making it one of the most challenging and mysterious areas to explore and manage.
    • Distance: Varies, typically beyond several billion light-years
    • Temperature: Close to absolute zero (-273.15 degrees Celsius)
    • Density: Extremely low, with only a few atoms or particles per cubic meter
    • Radiation: High levels of cosmic radiation
    • Vacuum: Nearly complete vacuum, with almost no matter
  6. 6
    Planetary protection managing the risk of contaminating other planets or moons with Earth-based microbes is a critical concern for space exploration.
    Planetary protection is a set of protocols and measures designed to prevent biological contamination of celestial bodies and protect potential extraterrestrial life when exploring other planets or moons. It aims to ensure that any spacecraft, equipment, or instruments that come into contact with these celestial bodies do not introduce Earth's biological material or organisms that could interfere with scientific experiments or life forms indigenous to those bodies.
    • Category: Space Policy
    • Purpose: Prevent Biological Contamination
    • Goal: Protect Potential Extraterrestrial Life
    • Organizing Body: COSPAR
    • Established: 1958
  7. 7
    Space tourism
    NASA · Public domain

    Space tourism

    Space tourism managing the safety and environmental impact of commercial space travel presents new challenges for space agencies and private companies.
    Space tourism is a form of travel where individuals embark on spaceflights for recreational, leisure, or personal reasons. It allows people to experience the thrill and wonder of space exploration firsthand, offering a unique and unforgettable adventure beyond Earth's atmosphere.
    • Duration: 1-2 weeks
    • Passenger capacity: Up to 100
    • Launch vehicle: Starship
    • Max altitude: 300-500 kilometers
    • Earth orbit: Yes
  8. 8

    Space law

    International community
    Space law managing the legal framework for space activities, including ownership of resources and liability for accidents or damages, is a complex and evolving field.
    Space law, also known as space legislation or space governance, refers to a set of legal principles, regulations, and international agreements that govern activities within outer space. It provides a legal framework for the exploration, use, and preservation of space and celestial bodies. Space law aims to regulate various aspects such as international space cooperation, space exploration, satellite communications, space debris mitigation, liability for damages, and the protection of astronauts and space objects from harm.
    • Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (Outer Space Treaty): Establishes the legal framework for outer space activities and prohibits the placement of nuclear weapons in space.
    • Rescue Agreement: Requires parties to provide assistance to astronauts in distress and facilitate their safe return to Earth.
    • Liability Convention: Establishes liability for damages caused by space objects and ensures compensation for victims.
    • Registration Convention: Requires the registration of space objects launched by states to ensure tracking, identification, and space traffic management.
    • Moon Agreement: Addresses the governance, exploitation, and environmental protection of the Moon and other celestial bodies.
  9. 9
    Space weather managing the effects of solar flares and other space weather phenomena on Earth's technology and infrastructure is a critical concern for many industries.
    Space weather refers to the conditions and events occurring in outer space that can affect various aspects of technology and human activities on Earth. It involves the study and monitoring of solar wind, solar flares, geomagnetic storms, and other phenomena that emanate from the Sun and interact with the Earth's magnetic field. Space weather can have significant impacts on satellite operations, communication systems, power grids, GPS navigation, and even aviation. It is a complex field of research that requires continuous monitoring and modeling to understand and predict space weather events.
    • Solar wind: Stream of charged particles emitted by the Sun.
    • Solar flares: Explosive release of energy from the Sun's surface, often accompanied by electromagnetic radiation and high-energy particles.
    • Geomagnetic storms: Disturbances in the Earth's magnetic field caused by solar activity.
    • Coronal mass ejections (CMEs): Large-scale eruptions of plasma and magnetic field from the Sun.
    • Ionosphere: The region of Earth's atmosphere where ionization occurs, affected by space weather.
  10. 10
    Lunar exploration
    NASA · Public domain
    Lunar exploration managing the challenges of establishing a sustained human presence on the Moon, including resource utilization and radiation exposure, presents new challenges and opportunities.
    Lunar exploration refers to the exploration and study of the Moon, our closest celestial neighbor. It involves sending spacecraft and astronauts to the lunar surface to gather data, conduct experiments, and expand our knowledge of the Moon's geology, environment, and potential for future human habitation.
    • Spacecraft: Various spacecraft have been used for lunar exploration, including the Apollo missions' Lunar Module, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, Chang'e lunar landers, etc.
    • Rovers: Lunar rovers like the Soviet Union's Lunokhod series and China's Yutu have been sent to explore the lunar surface.
    • Space Suits: Specialized space suits are required for astronauts to safely explore the harsh lunar environment.
    • Rock and Soil Samples: Collecting and analyzing lunar rock and soil samples provides valuable insights into the Moon's composition and history.
    • Lunar Mapping: Mapping the lunar surface helps scientists understand its topography and identify potential landing sites.

Missing your favorite space?


Ranking factors for difficult space

  1. Size and Complexity
    The larger and more complex a space is, the more difficult it may be to manage. Consider the physical dimensions, number of rooms or areas, and diversity of functions within the space.
  2. Purpose and Function
    Different spaces are designed for different purposes, which can affect management complexity. For example, a research laboratory or manufacturing facility may have unique requirements, while a residential building or office space might have more standard needs.
  3. Occupancy and User Needs
    The number and diversity of occupants or users in a space can make it more challenging to manage. Consider the specific needs and expectations of occupants, as well as any unique requirements or accommodations necessary for accessibility, comfort, and safety.
  4. Building Systems and Infrastructure
    The complexity and age of the building systems (such as electrical, HVAC, and plumbing) can impact the ease of managing a space. Older systems may require more frequent maintenance, while newer systems may be more efficient and easier to monitor and control.
  5. Maintenance and Repairs
    A space with a high maintenance demand or frequent repair needs can be more challenging to manage. Consider the materials and finishes used in the space, the durability of the building, and any ongoing or future maintenance requirements.
  6. Regulatory and Compliance Requirements
    Managing a space may involve meeting specific regulatory requirements, such as local building codes, fire and life safety codes, and environmental regulations. Ensuring compliance can add complexity to the management of a space.
  7. Security and Safety
    Ensuring the safety and security of occupants and property within a space can be a complex task. Consider factors such as access control, surveillance systems, and security personnel requirements, as well as emergency preparedness and response planning.
  8. Budget and Financial Considerations
    Managing a space includes budgeting for operational costs, maintenance, and capital improvements. Balancing these financial needs with the goals and objectives of the organization or property owner can be a challenging aspect of managing a space.
  9. Environmental and Sustainability Factors
    The environmental impact of a space and its management should be considered, including energy efficiency, waste management, and water usage. Implementing and maintaining sustainable practices may add complexity to managing a space.
  10. Stakeholder Communication and Coordination
    Effective communication and cooperation between various stakeholders (such as occupants, property owners, contractors, and regulatory agencies) can be critical to successfully managing a space. Establishing clear lines of communication and coordination can be a key factor in space management.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most difficult space to manage. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or space is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 197 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each space once every 24 hours. The rank of each space is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

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More information on most difficult space to manage

Managing spaces can be a challenging task, especially when it comes to large and complex areas. From offices and warehouses to public venues and residential buildings, each space has its unique set of challenges that require careful consideration and planning. However, some spaces are notoriously difficult to manage due to their size, complexity or other factors. In this article, we explore some of the most difficult spaces to manage and the key considerations that come with managing them effectively. Whether you are a facility manager, property owner, or simply interested in the topic, this article will provide you with valuable insights into the world of space management.

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