Our Earth has a loose chain of thousands of artificial satellites circuiting it day and night. As technology advances, the number of satellites increases, and conversely, so do the uses of satellites. Some of the well-known uses of satellites include weather forecasting and enabling GPS and instant communication globally.
If you’re thinking what we’re thinking, you most likely want to know what other uses of satellites there possibly could be other than allowing us much-needed opportunities for Netflix and chill. But, what if we told you there are facts about satellites you didn’t know? So, we went on a bit of a journey to discovery, and here are some exciting but unknown uses of satellites.
Uses of Satellites In The Fishing Industry: Fight Banned Fishing Activities
One of the most incredible things we can do with satellites is to be mercenaries and fight unreported and illegal fishing. Every second, 1800 pounds of fish are harvested from the waters. This translates to almost $23.5 billion each year.
Catapult, a UK Satellite Application in partnership with Pew Charitable Trusts, can pinpoint illegal fishing vessels using satellites applications. One of the uses of satellites such as The Virtual Watch Room is to identify the ID, details of fishing license, name, location, and detailed history of a suspected vessel.
Using algorithms, alerts are created based on typical fishing speeds, the vessel’s movement pattern, vessels that don’t signal their position, two vessels near each other, or getting into a restricted area such as a marine reserve. Then, experts analyze these alerts and notify associated government authorities where there’s a need to.
Identify Forest Fires
There are different kinds of satellites whose job is to undertake specific tasks. For instance, MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) is designed to map out burning fires each month worldwide. The satellite uses a color system to display the number of fires burning in a 1000-square-kilometer area.
Red indicates one fire each day; orange indicates around five, yellow around 10, and white points to as many as 100. The uses of this satellite are essential for mapping since it can aid in fighting or stopping fires or pattern natural cycles such as lightning, dryness, rainfall, and agricultural burning via human activity.
Find Sargassum In The Ocean
If you ask us, this is one of the most unusual uses of satellites we’ve come across. Sargassum is a floating alga or seaweed found on the beach in the Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico. This alga holds a vital role in balancing out the ocean ecosystem.
However, in recent years, its distribution and amount have changed significantly. When massive amounts of the weed were discovered on the beaches of the eastern Caribbean, scientists used satellites services to find out where it originated from.
The uses of satellites to track Sargassum have helped scientists develop SEAS, Sargassum Early Advisory System, an app that sends warning to boaters, fishermen, and tourists when the algae show up on the coast.
As we mentioned, there are different uses of satellites. And, GFW (Global Forest Watch) Commodities uses satellites to pass on vital information about the goings-on in the world’s forests. The program identifies both legal and illegal felling of trees and fires then sends alerts to stakeholders of forest-based commodities so they can take the necessary precautions. One of the uses of satellites in this area in the future would be to pinpoint the construction of illegal infrastructure and roads that would be indicative of unauthorized commercial activity before clearing off trees.
Detect Artificial Light At Night
There’s a sensor on the NASA National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NOAA Suomi) satellite that scientists use to investigate the Earth’s surface and atmosphere during the night. The sensor has a day-night band that can detect dim signals from gas flares, wildfires, city lights, reflected moonlight, and aurora. The sensor can also detect light from a ship that’s out at sea.
Such uses of satellites make it possible to gather data on the extent of the human footprint concerning artificial light. It also helps to identify specific areas where energy use and nighttime lighting can be brought a notch lower.
Scientists use city lights to chart rural and urban areas and follow suburban and urban growth to track urban hazards and energy use, study climate models and urban heat islands. This satellite also offers meteorologists to evaluate nightly weather phenomena.
It is clear that satellites are designed to meet specific needs. So the next time you see one in the sky, try to imagine what it’s used for. Or, if you have a problem to solve, try and figure out how you would use a satellite to solve it. Then let us know in the comments!
We hope you enjoyed our coverage of different types and uses of satellites.
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