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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  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 18 Aug 2015 @ 5:04pm

    Do we really need another one?

    Yes, we need as many orbital accidents and as much space debris as possible.

    Thia has the additional benefit of requiring more ground tracking power to watch the satellites and space junk.

    Win/win.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Aug 2015 @ 5:15pm

      Re: Do we really need another one?

      Maybe Waste Management will launch a garbage truck into low earth orbit.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Aug 2015 @ 8:24pm

        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".

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Sheogorath (profile), 19 Aug 2015 @ 2:14am

      Re: Do we really need another one?

      But remember the skeleton of the Russian dog up there. :(

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Aug 2015 @ 5:56pm

    In future wars, GPS satellites will be destroyed with precisely-aimed high-intensity laser beams from the get-go, disabling all cruise missiles and "smart" bombs, and forcing countries to fight wars the old-fashioned way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Aug 2015 @ 6:41pm

      Re:

      You're saying we'll need mobile suits?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ben (profile), 18 Aug 2015 @ 7:43pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    JoeDetroit (profile), 18 Aug 2015 @ 6:05pm

    More powerful than satellites?

    Persistent Surveillance.

    Eye in the Sky by Radiolab
    The power to do good & evil!

    Imagine how powerful this is going to become as the technology matures.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Aug 2015 @ 6:11pm

    Do we really need another one?

    Of course! Redundancy and decentralization are very good things.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TKnarr (profile), 18 Aug 2015 @ 8:29pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2015 @ 9:42am

    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!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2015 @ 8:48pm

    Position satellites are pretty distant; I think GPS satellites orbit twice per day or something. I don't think they'll contribute to any "space junk" problems.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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