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(Vimeo)   High res video taken from space, where you can actually see cars driving down the streets   (vimeo.com ) divider line
    More: Cool, HD video, frames per seconds, spaces, cars  
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4719 clicks; posted to Video » on 10 Mar 2014 at 8:33 AM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



26 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-03-10 04:26:36 AM  
Always thought from the 80s they had sats that could read number plates from space, or was that just the movies?
 
2014-03-10 07:44:34 AM  

colinspooky: Always thought from the 80s they had sats that could read number plates from space, or was that just the movies?


Thought that was just the TLA satellites that could do that, not commercial.
 
2014-03-10 08:29:20 AM  

colinspooky: Always thought from the 80s they had sats that could read number plates from space, or was that just the movies?


IIRC there was a sat photo of a man on a park bench reading a newspaper going around that was so good you could read the headline on the paper.
 
2014-03-10 09:26:02 AM  

Hobodeluxe: colinspooky: Always thought from the 80s they had sats that could read number plates from space, or was that just the movies?

IIRC there was a sat photo of a man on a park bench reading a newspaper going around that was so good you could read the headline on the paper.


No, there wasn't.

You need at least 1 centimeter resolution to read the very largest headlines of a newspaper.

That's exceedingly tough to do from orbit, due to the limitations of what you can put up there.  If I did the math right, from a 250 kilometer high orbit, you'd need an aperture of approximately 15.25 meters.

On the other hand, to get 10 centimeter resolution (about 4 inches per pixel), you'd need an aperture of just 1.525 meters in diameter.

So what is the biggest practical mirror we can loft, and what resolution will it give us under optimal conditions?  Hubble Space Telescope has a mirror diameter of 2.4 meters, which seems to be about the size of other more terrestrial concerned orbital telescopes, and that would result in a resolution of roughly 6 or 7 centimeters at 250 kilometers in height.

So no, unless there is some trickery involved, there is no way you can read a license plate or a newspaper from orbit.  You'd need a telescope of very, very large size, something beyond what we have the capacity to orbit now.
 
2014-03-10 10:49:24 AM  
When does the live HD backyard porn start?
 
2014-03-10 10:57:21 AM  
What could I do with HD video from space?  Well, I could retroactively track and assign the blame for crimes based on the location of innocent rubes!
 
2014-03-10 11:53:34 AM  

lewismarktwo: What could I do with HD video from space?  Well, I could retroactively track and assign the blame for crimes based on the location of innocent rubes!


Heh.

I like the part where it says "The resolution is high enough to resolve objects that impact the global economy like shipping containers, while maintaining a level of clarity that does not determine human activity. "

Bullshiat.  You can see my car.  You can follow that little dot when it leaves my driveway and see where it goes in real time, if you happen to have one of those satellites overhead.

But there is the rub:  Orbital mechanics dictate that any one particular satellite can't be overhead for very long.  I'd be more concerned about drones:  Because they are much closer distance-wise, the technical requirements for the camera to provide the same or even much better resolution are lessened, and they can loiter in the same area for hours and be replaced on station by another drone, providing continuous coverage.
 
2014-03-10 12:23:38 PM  
Commercial satellites are limited by the Federal Government to 50cm. GeoEye, IKRONOS, and Quickbird are all capable of this resolution.

The KH-11, which was first built & launched in 1975, can allegedly get down to a 2cm resolution, although that has never been officially confirmed by the U.S. Government.  The closest they've really come to admitting it is the 2 satellites they just gave to NASA that were built in the late 90's, that can supposedly "spot a dime on the Washington Monument from orbit" (and are STILL not "cutting edge" enough for the governments spy purposes).

Keep in mind though, when they talk about "orbit" on these type of reconnaissance birds, they're not talking about the 22,000 mile geosynchronous orbit that companies like DirecTV/Dish Network use (which have to stay in one place so your dish stays aimed at them), but rather highly elliptical orbits that can bring satellites down to as low as 200 miles above the Earth when they take their pictures.
 
2014-03-10 12:33:20 PM  
Why don't they use it to look for the missing airliner?  Oh yeah, I forgot about that black hole it flew into and just arrived in Beijing in 1920.

The old Twilight Zone would have a great story for this
 
2014-03-10 12:48:13 PM  

GrailOfThunder: The KH-11, which was first built & launched in 1975, can allegedly get down to a 2cm resolution, although that has never been officially confirmed by the U.S. Government.  The closest they've really come to admitting it is the 2 satellites they just gave to NASA that were built in the late 90's, that can supposedly "spot a dime on the Washington Monument from orbit" (and are STILL not "cutting edge" enough for the governments spy purposes).


It's never been confirmed, because it's largely bullshiat.  See my discussion about resolution above.
 
2014-03-10 12:51:43 PM  

dittybopper: Hobodeluxe: colinspooky: Always thought from the 80s they had sats that could read number plates from space, or was that just the movies?

IIRC there was a sat photo of a man on a park bench reading a newspaper going around that was so good you could read the headline on the paper.

No, there wasn't.

You need at least 1 centimeter resolution to read the very largest headlines of a newspaper.

That's exceedingly tough to do from orbit, due to the limitations of what you can put up there.  If I did the math right, from a 250 kilometer high orbit, you'd need an aperture of approximately 15.25 meters.

On the other hand, to get 10 centimeter resolution (about 4 inches per pixel), you'd need an aperture of just 1.525 meters in diameter.

So what is the biggest practical mirror we can loft, and what resolution will it give us under optimal conditions?  Hubble Space Telescope has a mirror diameter of 2.4 meters, which seems to be about the size of other more terrestrial concerned orbital telescopes, and that would result in a resolution of roughly 6 or 7 centimeters at 250 kilometers in height.

So no, unless there is some trickery involved, there is no way you can read a license plate or a newspaper from orbit.  You'd need a telescope of very, very large size, something beyond what we have the capacity to orbit now.


Couldn't you use multiple telescopes and interferometric techniques?
 
2014-03-10 12:59:26 PM  
Enhance...
 
2014-03-10 02:29:19 PM  

Tillmaster: Couldn't you use multiple telescopes and interferometric techniques?


The problem is that you need to maintain a very accurate baseline for that at optical wavelengths.  That's hard to do in orbit.  Plus, I'm not an expert on interferometry, so I may be way off here, but from what I recall it's good for resolving angular separation but not so much for actual imaging.  I may be wrong about that, however.

Actually a large, foldable mirror might also be possible, combined with adaptive optics, might also be possible, but that's a big expense, and it also introduces possible failure points.

Thing is, why bother?  Once you get below a certain resolution, you're not really adding all that much information.  Because of the limitations of orbital mechanics, it's not really that great for keeping tabs on individuals, which is really the only reason you'd want resolution that high.  But for that, you're now talking about non-state actors, like terrorists, and for them, drones are much more useful and economical, because they have a much lower cost and loiter times measuring 15 hours, not 15 minutes.
 
2014-03-10 03:57:35 PM  
You do realize that if they are showing you this, there's something better out there now.
 
2014-03-10 04:18:44 PM  
I could see this becoming a thing....

img.fark.net
 
2014-03-10 07:34:46 PM  
i.imgur.com
 
2014-03-10 08:16:35 PM  

shamalamadingdong: I could see this becoming a thing....

[img.fark.net image 850x478]


OK, I lol'd.
 
2014-03-10 08:55:24 PM  

dittybopper: Tillmaster: Couldn't you use multiple telescopes and interferometric techniques?

The problem is that you need to maintain a very accurate baseline for that at optical wavelengths.  That's hard to do in orbit.  Plus, I'm not an expert on interferometry, so I may be way off here, but from what I recall it's good for resolving angular separation but not so much for actual imaging.  I may be wrong about that, however.

Actually a large, foldable mirror might also be possible, combined with adaptive optics, might also be possible, but that's a big expense, and it also introduces possible failure points.

Thing is, why bother?  Once you get below a certain resolution, you're not really adding all that much information.  Because of the limitations of orbital mechanics, it's not really that great for keeping tabs on individuals, which is really the only reason you'd want resolution that high.  But for that, you're now talking about non-state actors, like terrorists, and for them, drones are much more useful and economical, because they have a much lower cost and loiter times measuring 15 hours, not 15 minutes.


Why fordable? Why not a static field suspended and real time manipulated liquid reflector/lens system? Suck it in to safely and squirt it out when you need it. It's vacuum and micro gravity, why not?

It was in Dune, it's probably already been made.
 
2014-03-10 10:34:15 PM  
Wasn't there a camera to be mounted on the ISS with enough resolution to provide a Google-Earth-like experience in realtime, or near-realtime?
 
2014-03-11 12:25:25 AM  
The ISS has a cam called ISSAC, tuned for agricultural-related imaging. If your cropland or grazing land is between the Mississippi river and the Rockies, you can check out it's temperature and moisture in IR up to twice a day, with 20-foot per pixel resolution.  This is great for figuring where in your fields you need more water, or less fertilizer, or more pesticides, letting you fine-tune your GPS-enabled applicator, and reducing waste. Reduced spraying means better groundwater protection as well as saving the farmer money.

Some university I can't recall runs the free website for downloading the images. Might be North Dakota State or something like that.
 
2014-03-11 01:29:42 AM  

cig-mkr: You do realize that if they are showing you this, there's something better out there now.


Not many people are able to put down their snark and stupidity long enough for that thought to take seed.
 
2014-03-11 01:57:01 AM  

dittybopper: lewismarktwo: What could I do with HD video from space?  Well, I could retroactively track and assign the blame for crimes based on the location of innocent rubes!

Heh.

I like the part where it says "The resolution is high enough to resolve objects that impact the global economy like shipping containers, while maintaining a level of clarity that does not determine human activity. "

Bullshiat.  You can see my car.  You can follow that little dot when it leaves my driveway and see where it goes in real time, if you happen to have one of those satellites overhead.

But there is the rub:  Orbital mechanics dictate that any one particular satellite can't be overhead for very long.  I'd be more concerned about drones:  Because they are much closer distance-wise, the technical requirements for the camera to provide the same or even much better resolution are lessened, and they can loiter in the same area for hours and be replaced on station by another drone, providing continuous coverage.


Pick up that can.

i959.photobucket.com

Not as bad as:

cdn-www.cracked.com
 
2014-03-11 10:23:44 AM  

Tillmaster: Couldn't you use multiple telescopes and interferometric techniques?


Maybe, if they wrote a GUI in Visual Basic....

(By the time the photon is absorbed by the detector, it's too late for interferometric techniques. Those require the phase information in real-time.)
 
2014-03-11 11:03:15 PM  

Broom: Tillmaster: Couldn't you use multiple telescopes and interferometric techniques?

Maybe, if they wrote a GUI in Visual Basic....

(By the time the photon is absorbed by the detector, it's too late for interferometric techniques. Those require the phase information in real-time.)


So how come it works for radio telescopes?
 
2014-03-11 11:21:33 PM  

Tillmaster: (By the time the photon is absorbed by the detector, it's too late for interferometric techniques. Those require the phase information in real-time.)

So how come it works for radio telescopes?


Great question!

Because the detectors in radio telescopes are actually antennas, which do preserve the phase information.

What that makes me wonder is if similar structures couldn't be built on the submicron scale (which isn't small by today's standards). However, silicon or germanium detectors are never going to give us that information. In a way, it's like examining what's inside a box by burning it to ash - "Yup, there was gold in there alright! 2.024 troy ounces! In what form? Um.... a puddle?"
 
2014-03-11 11:23:33 PM  

tampaflacouple: Why don't they use it to look for the missing airliner?  Oh yeah, I forgot about that black hole it flew into and just arrived in Beijing in 1920.


Probably because that event happened in the past, and we live in the present, and the satellites have to be positioned correctly ahead of time.

But it doesn't sound like science is really your strong point.
 
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