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Think space doesn't impact you? Think again.



During the New Space Economy program at MIT, one assignment provoked us to think about how a day without any space technology would impact us. Here is what I wrote.... I hope you'll enjoy it and gain a whole new appreciation for Space, as I did!


How would your life change if you had no access to data derived from space for 24 hours?


The truth is I might enjoy 24 hours of analog activities.


All jests aside, imagining the potential cascading effect of a Day Without Space*, or worse, a total loss of space capabilities, causes chills. The depth and breadth of space technology's influence on the environment and geo-political predicament seems to be a matter of Planetary Security...


… Without satellites: Scientific Research, from environmental monitoring to astronomical observations would be halted. We’d lose the ability to: Track Glacier Melting in the Arctic and Antarctic informing sea-level rise ➠ Monitor Land Subsidence* where groundwater is extracted rapidly and land sinks ➠ Study Light Pollution*: informing energy use (satellites seem to be a controversial topic of light pollution too*) ➠ No Longer Monitor Ocean Currents* , temperature changes (causing the bleaching of corals), and marine life migrations ➠ Predict Volcano Eruptions* which can show signs of ground deformation before erupting ➠ Forecast the Weather ➠ Monitor Natural Disasters*➠ Monitor Forests* deforestation and reforestation ➠ Observe Animal Migration*: essential for conservation and understanding ecological patterns ➠ Predict Disease More Pandemics? ➠ Communication Interruptions* Disruptions of Alternative Energy Production* ➠ Disruptions of Financial Transactions: impacting humanitarian aid, the global supply chain, the blockchain… ➠ Search and Rescue Operations*: in remote areas ➠ Disaster Management & Insurance Companies* unable to assess damage for claim processes. Agriculture & Soil Moisture*: farmers unable to monitor their crops, land use, predict drought or flooding (affecting the food supply chain, affecting us) ➠ Urban Development* ➠ Locating Underground Resources* via remote sensing to spot sites of underground water, mineral and oil deposits ➠ Legal and Boundary Disputes*: loss of evidence in disputes related to land and territorial boundaries ➠ National Security and Defense* compromised ➠ Disruption of Timing Systems*: “The entire internet use satellite timekeeping to sync their clocks and interoperate” Wired ➠ Monitor Human Rights Violations*: detect mass graves and refugee movement during conflicts. 


Let's not forget Tracking Space Debris* which prevents collisions with satellites, the ISS (and while very improbable, but possible: someone’s head). 


Overwhelmed yet? Let’s have a glass of wine.


Sorry, some vineyards* use satellite data to monitor the health of their vines!


I may need these 24 hours after all...



 

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