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Emergency rescue beacons from SPOT have been slowly but surely moving toward a satellite device that provides seamless real-time communication around the world – in other words, a satellite phone. The company has moved from pre-written messaging to custom type-and-send messaging, and with the new SPOT Global Phone, it now adds capabilities for real-time voice. The phone keeps you connected with friends, family and rescue agents even when you're standing in the middle of a roadless, fly-in wilderness in Alaska. Read More
NASA has captured the world's largest panoramic photo showing a swath of land 6,000 miles long and 120 miles wide using a satellite orbiting 438 miles (705 km) above the Earth. At 19.06 gigapixels, "The Long Swath” is far from the highest resolution panorama on record, falling well short of the 320 gigapixel panorama of London, but it is without question the longest, covering an area from northern Russia to South Africa. Read More
Recently the media has been saturated with overly-hyped reports that NASA's Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) may have detected dark matter. These claims may have some justification if the word "may" is shouted, but they rest on a number of really major assumptions and guesses, some of which are on weak and shifting soil. So just what was seen in the experiment, and what are the possible explanations? Read More
Kicking off with the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE), which was launched in March 2009, the European Space Agency’s Earth Explorer missions are intended to provide a greater understanding of the Earth and the interactions between various natural Earth processes. “Biomass” is the seventh Earth Explorer satellite to get the nod and will provide and accurate picture of the amount of biomass and carbon stored in the world’s forests. Read More
For the first time, quantum cryptographers have successfully transmitted a quantum key from a fast-moving object – a Dornier 228 turboprop. The experiment involved sending a secure message from the aircraft to a ground station via laser beam, and can be considered a significant step toward the creation of a network of “unbreakable” satellite data transmissions. Read More
Given a set of problems related to space exploration and a 48-hour deadline, 9,000 people in 80 locations around the world created over 600 solutions. The International Space Apps Challenge, sponsored by NASA and other international space agencies, offered up massive amounts of data and other resources to teams of hackers who responded with creative solutions. The public now has the chance to view these solutions online and vote for their favorites on each project's official page. Gizmag set out to find the best projects related to data visualization and education, space exploration and satellite inventiveness, green technology, and remotely-operated vehicles. Read More
When it comes to keeping tabs on the location of aircraft, radar has long ruled the roost. But radar range is limited, and long-haul planes become untraceable when passing over oceans and large deserts or polar regions. By equipping orbiting satellites with instruments that listen in on ADS-B signals, scientists think that it should possible to track aircraft over the course of their entire journey, and with the launch of Proba-V, they're ready to put the idea to the test. Read More
The Atlantic sturgeon, which is one of the world’s oldest species of fish, can live up to 60 years, reaching a length of of 15 feet (4.6 meters) and a weight of over 800 pounds (360 kg). It’s also endangered, due to past overfishing for its caviar. In order to protect the sturgeon that are left, it’s important to keep fishermen from catching them accidentally. That’s why researchers at the University of Delaware and Delaware State University are calling upon satellites, and an underwater robot known as OTIS. Read More
Emergency beacons are great insurance for aviators and sailors, but they aren't worth much if a disaster leaves you in one place and the beacon in another. Just to be safe, you might as well strap the beacon to your wrist, which is what the Breitling Emergency II does. The Swiss-made wrist chronograph watch provides those who travel in remote, risky places with a dual-channel emergency satellite transmitter that activates with a twist and a yank. Read More
Julie McEnery is NASA's Project Scientist for the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. When she checked her email on March 29, 2012, she was startled to find an automatically generated message stating that in six days, her half-billion-plus dollar satellite was going to cross paths with Cosmos 1805, a Soviet-era spy satellite. The predicted encounter had the two satellites occupying the same coordinates only 30 milliseconds apart. Not only that, but Cosmos was in an orbit moving nearly perpendicular to Fermi such that their collision would be equivalent to tons of high explosives. Essentially total destruction. Read More