DailyDirt: Satellites Looking Down On Us

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

It used to be only the people wearing tinfoil hats that were worried about satellites flying above us all the time. However, satellite technology is getting cheaper and easier to access, and more satellites are looking down at us than are looking at the stars. No one should be worried about a bunch of Helicarriers targeting everyone just yet, but we’re making progress towards a sky filled with some pretty advanced technology.

After you’ve finished checking out those links, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.

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Comments on “DailyDirt: Satellites Looking Down On Us”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Do we really need another one?

… and shortly after launch, it gets “shot down” by space debris. (See space.com for a good overview.)

Apparently, 2/3 of the tracked debris in orbit has resulted from a 2007 anti-satellite test, and a 2009 collision. Imagine the debris from an all-out attempt to destroy satellites…

Look up NASA’s orbital debris mitigation page for an idea of NASA’s thoughts on the subject of mitigation.

On the plus side, Waste Management won’t put a vehicle in orbital service… nobody wants to pay their surcharge for “distance from road to garbage bin”.

Ben (profile) says:

Re: Re:

disabling all cruise missiles and “smart” bombs

Well, cruise missiles work by inertial guidance (and to a degree, location pattern recognition), not GPS; “smart” bombs work via laser guidance (shine a laser on the target and it follows it in).

The issue with GPS is the fidelity of the signal is controlled by the agency that runs the satellites/network, and if you don’t like how they’re being run (or the fact that they may stop working when you want them to work), you build your own network. It all depends on how much you are willing to spend.

TKnarr (profile) says:

GPS networks

The controlling rule: you don’t want critical military infrastructure to be controlled by your opponent. So any country who’s not absolutely 100% positive their interests will always align perfectly with those of the US wants their own GPS system that the US can’t interfere with or degrade at will. I consider it good, the more GPS networks there are the more redundancy there is and the harder it’ll be for anyone to degrade/kill GPS capability without being forced to annoy someone big enough to swat them and willing to swat them.

Anonymous Coward says:

How current is the imagery?

…Satellite imagery can be used for a bunch of business intelligence services. Retail parking lots can be monitored during prime purchasing seasons. Mining operations and construction projects could be tracked to ensure foreign companies are making the progress they say they’re making…

That only works with current imagery. Unless these companies have access the general public doesn’t a lot of publicly available imagery is older than 3 months and can be years old. I watched an Air Force auxillary field bulldozed and developed yet the field still shows up, in some cases superimposed over the new buildings. Another example: I saw imagery of a vacant field where I knew a retail building existed (because I had patronized the retailer); that building did not show up until ten years later!

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