Jul 26 2012

Satellites Can See the Sea!

I read an article about a new radar project the UK government has started.  A new radar satellite, NovaSar-S, would be used that would able to see the sea surface at all times, regardless of the weather, cloud cover or time.  Some of the things the satellite will be used for are to monitor ships passing through high-risk waters or ships who fish in restricted zone.  Apparently, this is innovative because currently even though all ships have GPS coordinates and communicate that data with stations on land, that information is not available instantaneously; the captain would have to send that information or else no one would know.  I thought it was interesting that ships could not really be tracked in the open ocean.

The NovaSar-S, flying above the Earth.

I think this technology could be used to monitor ocean currents and wind patterns.  Buoys could be deployed in different areas of the ocean, be connected to the specific “tracker” the satellite needs and provide clearer information to scientists on the characteristics of the area.  The article stated that the satellite could detect how ships were oriented, not just their location.  Therefore, if a satellite is that precise, then I think the satellite could accurately gather more information on where ocean energy devices could be deployed and harness the most energy.

The NovaSar-S, could provide images of the Earth at all times.

In addition, on another note unrelated to ocean energy, this satellite could, potentially give us a leg up on stopping the illegal fishing of endangered or threatened species.  If the satellite detects unauthorized ships in protected marine waters or in areas, where there have been reports of endangered or threatened species being “attacked,” then authorities could catch the culprits quicker and easier.  In addition, in the case of offshore wind farms, the satellite could ensure that no unauthorized fishing occurs around the farms.

In addition, the satellite will also be used to monitor floods, deforestation and conduct disaster mapping.

For more information visit: BBC News.

Figures from the NovaSar-S brochure .

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