Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

Flock Of Minisats Will Image The Earth

Planet Labs, a 2-year-old company founded in San Francisco, CA, is launching dozens of small satellites or minisats, which they call 'nimble imagers'.


(Minisatellite view)

This is a major departure from the prevailing model of designing a single, tremendously powerful (and expensive) Earth-observing satellite and rigorously testing it for years before launching it. But these little satellites, which measure about 12 inches by 4 inches, have other big advantages. They are cheap enough to be essentially expendable, so the company can risk sending satellites into space before they are perfected, and continuously update the flock with improved units as it learns from those it’s already launched. This drastically reduces costs by removing the need for rigorous testing to ensure a satellite will perform as expected in orbit—usually a multi-year process. If a minisat design fails or falls short of expectations, Planet Labs just sends up another, better one.

“We can do it small and cheap, so we can afford to take risks and push fast,” Planet Labs software engineer Frank Warmerdam said

This use of small, almost disposable mini-satellites, reminded me of the small recording eyes in Robert Silverberg's 1969 novel The Man in the Maze:

Muller saw a cloud-wrapped planet... it could have been Venus... The recording eye pierced the cloud layer and revealed an unfamiliar, not very Earthlike planet.

Boardman said, "That was taken less than a month ago. We parked a drone ship fifty thousand kilometers up and dropped roughly a thousand eyes on Beta Hydri IV.

From Planet Labs via Wired.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/17/2014)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

ESA To Build Moon Bases Brick By Printed LEGO Brick
'We made a crude , small cell and were delighted - and, I admit, somewhat surprised - to find it worked.' - John W. Campbell, 1950.

FLOAT Levitating Train On The Moon ala Clarke
'The low-slung monorail car, straddling its single track, bored through the shadows on a slowly rising course.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1955.

SpaceX Intros Extravehicular Activity Suit
'Provision had been made to meet the terrific cold which we knew would be encountered the moment we had passed beyond the atmosphere.' - Garrett P. Serviss, 1898.

SpaceX Wants A Moonbase Alpha
'And he had been sent with troops, supplies and bombs to command Russia's most trusted post, the Moonbase.' - L. Ron Hubbard, 1948.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

Cognify - A Prison Of The Mind We've Seen Before In SF
'So I serve a hundred years in one day...'

Robot With Human Brain Organoid - 'A Thrilling Story Of Mechanistic Progress'
'A human brain snugly encased in a transparent skull-shaped receptacle.'

Goodness Gracious Me! Google Tries Face Recognition Security
'The actuating mechanism that should have operated by the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell...'

With Mycotecture, We'll Just Grow The Space Habitats We Need
'The only real cost was in the plastic balloon that guided the growth of the coral and enclosed the coral's special air-borne food.'

Can A Swarm Of Deadly Drones Take Out An Aircraft Carrier?
'The border was defended by... a swarm of quasi-independent aerostats.'

WiFi and AI Team Up To See Through Walls
'The pitiless M rays pierced Earth and steel and densest concrete as if they were so much transparent glass...'

Climate Engineering In California Could Make Europe's Heat Waves Worse
'Pina2bo would have to operate full blast for many years to put as much SO2 into the stratosphere as its namesake had done in a few minutes.'

Optimus Robot Will Be A Good Nanny, Says Musk
'Nanny is different,' Tom Fields murmured... 'she's not like a machine. She's like a person.'

ESA To Build Moon Bases Brick By Printed LEGO Brick
'We made a crude , small cell and were delighted - and, I admit, somewhat surprised - to find it worked.'

Does The Shortage Of Human Inputs Limit AI Development?
'...we've promised him a generous pension from the royalties.'

Textiles That Harvest Energy And Store It
'The clothes and jewelery drew their tiny power requirements from her movements.'

LORIS Passive-Gripper Climbing Robot
'At the end of each appendage's eight fingers there are tinier appendages...'

Neuroplatform Human Brain Organoid Bioprocessor Uses Less Electricity
'Cultured brains on a slab.'

Drug To Regenerate Teeth In Humans
'We want to do something to help those who are suffering from tooth loss or absence,' said lead researcher Katsu Takahashi.

Coin-Sized Nuclear Battery Good For 100 Years
'...power pack the size of a pea.'

Live Stream With Meta-Ban Multimodal Smart Glasses
'...the bug-eyed, opaque gape of her True-Vu lenses.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.