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Satellites are man-made objects or instruments mounted in space to aid in information gathering for various uses like communications, mapping, disasters amongst others and usually, rotate around the earth as well as other planets. There exist two different types of satellites: natural and artificial. The first ever satellite which was referred to Sputnik, was launched on October 4, 1957 by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics commonly known as USSR, to collect various information about scientific occurrences’.
These satellites, have had various potentials especially in space researches which have had strong influences on developments across the globe. However, further research needs to be undertaken to assist in strengthening man-made satellite use as discussed in this paper. Man-made or artificial satellites, rotating around the earth, have had their use being applied in various fields such as surveillances, communication, weather predictions and disaster management, location tracking through GPS, remote sensing which have guided various developments on earth. Before the invention of satellites by early scientists, these information or data were collected using physical observation which had several limitations.
However, since the inventions, especially in the last decades, more powerful sensors have been developed with advanced capabilities for data retrieval, processing and transfers especially geophysical studies. Satellites have the capabilities of large areas on earth observations and coverage at a single time meaning that they gather and transfer data faster than ground instruments. Since they are mounted above clouds and other obstacles, they have excellent and widespread views, far much better than ground telescopes. Initially, Television signals could not travel far distances since they move in straight lines and hence, they could be blocked by tall buildings, trees or even end up disappearing in space. Having phone communication were also a big problem too since installing telecommunication wires below the waters or above the ground were too costly and tedious. But with the introduction of satellites, phone and TV signals are instantly transferred up the space and instantly transmitted back to the ground in various earth’s locations. Most of the modern satellites come with two parts: antennae for sending and receiving signals, and source of power for example battery or solar for activating the operations. Some also have cameras and scientific sensors pointing towards the earth’s surface for extracting information on water, land and air. During some times, in order to gather information of the universe and solar system, they face the space.
One fascinating fact is that satellites never collide with each other because they are placed on orbits well designed to avoid others, and also NASA and other observatory bodies, keep their tracks. There are several technologies or data applications that can be employed to strengthen the potential for satellite use, for example, in Egypt (Mohammed Shokr 2011), recommends both horizontal involving widening the application ranges by using more high powered sensors and stimulating synergistic data from various sensors and vertical through developing more multifaceted applications for extracting geophysical parameters and applying them in modelling geophysical occurrences. Secondly, the biggest challenge currently is extremely high costs of satellites which makes is difficult for individual people to own satellites and as such, scientists, researchers and nations needs to focus on investing in developing robust large-scale markets which supports production of small, affordable satellites that will be able to meet the growing demands of world’s growing population.
Additionally, due the increasing acquisition and usage of Galileo satellites, navigation will get highly reliable and precise hence supplementing the existing technologies, which will allow for development of more applications for earth observations. Finally, developing countries needs to be capacity developed on the potentials of satellite technology and its areas of applications like in wildlife tracking, terrorism, education and health amongst others (Danielle R Wood 2008). In conclusion, application of satellites in various duties such as surveillance, disaster management, GPS tracking, and communication among others have significantly contributed to development of the earth’s cities, towns and natural resources protection. Developing countries have however not fully explored the much potentials for satellites and hence, the need for responsible authorities like NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), to consider funding for capacity development of the said nations.
For example, MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) have narrow bandwidths for use even in extraction of pigments concentrations. National earth observatory data archives needs to also be established to aid in storage and availability of data at any required time immediately it’s required.
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