We’ve talked in the past about the network of satellites surrounding our planet and how NASA, along with other companies, are keeping them in the sky and up to date by continuously launching the next generation of satellites in a step by step program. Well now we hope to use them for an entirely new reason.
What are the satellites doing now?
We discussed how the satellites are changing in “What aerospace materials are going into “They don’t make satellites like they used to”?”, but to give a little bit of a reminder, there are many satellites circling the planet in different paths for different purposes. Most of them are keeping up with the massive amount of communications we are constantly bombarding them with from each of our individual cell phones, computers, and other devices we use on a daily bases, some more than one at at time per person. Then there are the commercial devices. Everything from cable networks to radio networks that are constantly adding their own signals to the same satellites on a regular, consistent basis. Their top of the line technology also manages to keep them streaming all of this information with nearly perfect precision and clarity and without intermixing them, but it doesn’t stop there. They also have cameras on them that survey the planet performing various research on each of the land masses, but scientists from the navy have recently asked the satellites’ owners if the cameras could be used part time for a new purpose.
What new purpose is being requested from the satellites’ cameras?
Remember the Malaysian flight that we discussed in “What we haven’t learned from an airplane’s black box part 1” that went down into the ocean? Well it has still yet to be found, and instead of discussing any upgrades on the black box inside the plane, like we examined in the same blog, the navy and other researchers are looking at oceanic safety from an entirely different angle. They have asked the owners and operators of the satellites currently in orbit if they will allow the cameras to capture footage of the oceans as they pass over those areas before reaching the land masses they are intended to study.The satellite owners are hard pressed because they are trying to use their camera resources as much as possible for their original intended use, especially since the researchers are basically asking for the cameras to become essentially surveillance cameras, scanning entire areas of ocean, instead of specifically watching individual objects, which is almost insulting considering the talents of these technologically advanced,highly specialized cameras. But, if the researchers can make a clear enough case showing how the satellite coverage will potentially serve to help both airborne and seaborne vessels alike as they pass over the oceans, then we may be able to pin point the last few minutes of any object that goes missing in our vast oceans, and that could save lives.