Satellites

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Lining up potential pitfalls: nonexperts and computers may misinterpret the vertical line in this image as a natural feature rather than a result of a mosaic compilation of multiple satellite images. Google Earth

In sea of satellite images, experts' eyes still needed

Expert image analysts have an important role to play, even in an age of computer interpretation and crowdsourcing.
Space endeavours require capital. And for most African countries, capital is a limited commodity. EPA/Samantha Cristoforetti

Africa and space: the continent starts to look skyward

Many do not associate Africa with the high-tech sphere of "space". However, in recent years, many countries on the continent have woken up to the potential and usefulness of space technology.
An artist’s concept of two NASA Earth-orbiting cube satellites with a typical volume of just one litre (10cm x 10cm x 10cm). NASA/JPL-Caltech

Space treaties are a challenge to launching small satellites in orbit

We're already building satellites that can sit in the palm of your hand. But getting them into orbit can be a challneg, and not only for technical reasons.
A US Chinook similar to the one involved in the gun battle of Takur Ghar. Flickr/The U S Army

Bad space weather may have caused fatal Afghan gun battle

Three American soldiers* may have died in Afghanistan’s battle of Takur Ghar because of disruptions caused by plasma bubbles – a form of space weather – according to a new study. Space weather is normally…
Our moon orbits the Earth in the same way satellites do. Flickr/Alexey Kljatov

Explainer: how do satellites orbit the Earth?

Take a look at the moon and it isn’t hard to imagine it as a planet. A 3,476 kilometres-in-diameter ball of rock, with basalt plains and mountain ranges, whose gravitational pull produces tides here on…
Volunteers are trawling satellite imagery in the hope of finding the wreckage of MH370. EPA

Volunteers and algorithms need training to find MH370

It has been nearly a week since flight Malaysia Airlines MH370 disappeared some time after taking off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Despite searches led by the Malaysian authorities, there is…
Images released by China’s State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense that it says are three large floating objects in an area where missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 vanished. AAP/SASTIND

Can satellites help find missing flight MH370?

China has released several satellite images its officials say could be wreckage from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 with 239 people onboard. If they are proved to be true it shows how remote…
It’s getting crowded up there. Copyright, European Space Agency, ESA

George Clooney isn’t the only one with an eye in the sky

George Clooney revealed details last week about “his” spy satellite over Sudan, which he funds to keep an eye on the Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, who has been accused of war crimes. The Satellite…

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