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VENUS Satellite, The Next Eye in the Sky 100

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the fly-eye-in-the-sky dept.
Erica Campbell writes "According to IsraCast, Israel and France are working together on a new micro-satellite called VENUS, which is supposed to be far more advanced then present satellites. VENUS, which will be launched in 2008, will carry a unique Super Spectral Space Camera, and will have an advanced plasma-thruster engine for propulsion. From the article: 'The Israeli-French project will allow farmers to better treat their crops, fisherman to locate large quantities of fish in mid-sea and will also vastly increase the ability of the scientific community to study and monitor the flora and fauna in many areas around the globe.'"
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VENUS Satellite, The Next Eye in the Sky

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  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Monday March 13, 2006 @01:05PM (#14908574) Homepage Journal

    Sez a French Farmer: "Mon dieu! I feel like I am being watched by a goddess on a mountain top!"

    Sez a Fisherman: "Mais oui! It is like I can feel her crystal eyes burning into the back of my head!"

  • oo-er (Score:3, Funny)

    by telchine (719345) on Monday March 13, 2006 @01:06PM (#14908581)
    plasma-thruster engine

    Am I the only person that giggled when reading that

  • Overfishing? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cgifool (147454) on Monday March 13, 2006 @01:08PM (#14908605)
    Umm. Exactly how does this help with the global problem of overfishing?
    • Umm. Exactly how does this help with the global problem of overfishing?

      All fry will be implanted with tiny RFID tags and receivers. When they are too close to a fishing vessel Venus will transmit a signal which will make them swim away.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      There are nations with zero sense of responsibility for sustaining the fish stock. The fact that they are members of the EU, and the EU stands up for them, is a black mark on the EU. How about the ability to pinpoint Spanish fishing trawlers so Greenpeace can more effectively harass them.
    • by Iphtashu Fitz (263795) on Monday March 13, 2006 @01:37PM (#14908877)
      Exactly how does this help with the global problem of overfishing?

      Simple. No more fish means no more fishermen. Problem Solved.

      (Actually I had the exact same thought as you when I read that part of it)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      It doesn't. And that's the point. Even with current technology, the fish supply is being depleted. Go out now, and make even the mackarel extinct. Woo hoo! Really smart there, Europe.
    • The article is pretty light on details, but maybe it has some way of determining how many fish of a certain species are in an area of the sea? One of the biggest problems in over-fishing has got to be just determining the health of fish population in different parts of the ocean. If governments and scientists could get definitive information that something is over-fished, then it's much easier to get international bans on fishing in that part of the ocean.

      I don't know if that's what this thing can do. It
    • Easy. They assume that the fishermen, like you, don't know that "large school of fish" is Hebrew slang for "hurricane".

      Problem solved.
    • Where exactly did it say it was going to HELP with over fishing?
    • Re:Overfishing? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:48PM (#14910582)
      It's only a problem if you view it as a problem. Personally, I think it is an amazing technological feat that we have been able to wipe out macroscopic marine life. We've successfully invaded an entirely different habitat. I mean, imagine if fish had been able somehow to wipe out bison. I think you would have to recognize that as a pretty impressive accomplishment. Well, that's what we've done, and it is awesome if you think about it. So maybe the War on Drugs is stalled and the War on Terror is bogged down. But the War on Fish is going, ahem, swimmingly...
      I celebrate by eating fresh, wild-caught fish as often as possible; you all should too if you don't want to look back in regret in 10 years from now when there's nothing left but farmed McSalmon...
  • by Grant29 (701796) * on Monday March 13, 2006 @01:09PM (#14908618) Homepage
    which is supposed to be far more advanced then present satellites

    Maybe more advanced than presently known satellites. I'm sure the government's don't release all the data...
    --
    Find the lowest price at PriceAge [priceage.com]. Comparison Shopping with online coupons.
  • by Noryungi (70322) on Monday March 13, 2006 @01:10PM (#14908629) Homepage Journal
    Let's see, this thing has:
    1. Advanced, high-res optical cameras.
    2. Plasma thruster to change orbits.
    3. Small size, for smaller radar image, and/or better survivability.


    And all of this for crop surveillance? Riiiiiiiiiiiiight.

    I think our good friends at the NRO are going to get some competition from... ahem... "friends and allies" or something like this. Even if I am just being paranoid, the military potential is there, and don't forget that SPOT (European space imaging project, led by France) has been denounced often by the USA as a "dual-use" project...
    • > 3. Small size, for smaller radar image, and/or better survivability.

      Of course, the small size wouldn't never be because it comes from a reduction of the weight so also a reduction of the price to put the satellite in orbit?

      And probably all space technologies are "dual use".
    • by Vellmont (569020) on Monday March 13, 2006 @01:50PM (#14908997)

      I think our good friends at the NRO are going to get some competition from... ahem... "friends and allies"

      You should stop being so paranoid. Where in the article does it say that it has a high resolving power? It's my understanding that you need large mirrors to get a good angular resolution. Large mirrors don't fit so well in a micro-satellite. This this is designed to have extremely good color vision, not the high angular resolution you want for a spy satellite. It'd be interesting to know the angular resolution of this thing, but my guess is that it's going to be fairly large.

      Also, the Ion engine is designed to keep the thing in orbit, not change the orbit. Ion engines provide small amounts of thrust over long periods of time. Just the kind of thing you'd want to maintain an orbit, but it wouldn't be very good at changing the orbit quickly. Maybe if you had several months to wait for an orbit change. The spy satellite users usually don't have the luxury of waiting that long for changing orbits.
      • I missed it in the article. The resolution is 5.3 meters, which is about 17.4 feet. You could probbably tell something was a house, but not much better than that. This thing would make a very poor spy satellite.
        • missed it in the article. The resolution is 5.3 meters, which is about 17.4 feet. You could probbably tell something was a house, but not much better than that. This thing would make a very poor spy satellite.

          Well, let's say the vague listing of this thread in the direction of paranoia is correct. They wouldn't tell us how good the resolution of their cameras were, would they? That would be information for their special customers only.
      • With an interferometric setup of several of those, you do not need a large mirror.

        You just need to hook them up correctly.

        More info here [wikipedia.org]
        • First off, modern interferometers work in at most the infrared because, as the frequency gets higher, it gets harder and harder to line up the wave fronts. Secondly, even if you did create a visible light interferometer, doing such alignment in *space* would be virtually impossible, especially if you don't have some sort of rigid structure aligning the satellites. So, in short, the very idea is flat out ridiculous.
    • etter treat their crops, fisherman to locate large quantities of fish in mid-sea

      ... for governments to more quickly locate possible civic unrest before it happens, for Israel to better monitor the activities of the Gaza strip, for France to better be able to figure out where car burning is concentrated...

    • by luder (923306) *

      Actually, this will make life harder for the average farmer. Now they can't even have any intimate moment with their sheeps without feeling somebody's watching...

      It's just like night vision in Iraq [youtube.com].

    • by Seanasy (21730) on Monday March 13, 2006 @02:57PM (#14909625)
      Advanced, high-res optical cameras.

      The spatial resolution, as stated in the article, is 5.3m. Think about how big something would have to be in order for an image to show anything meaningful about it if each pixel represents 5 m^2.

      Plasma thruster to change orbits.

      Exactly why do you think this is spooky?

      Small size, for smaller radar image, and/or better survivability.

      Or, maybe, a small size means less weight and lower cost to orbit. But, don't let that hamper your paranoia.

      Even if I am just being paranoid, the military potential is there...

      Where? Look at this 5m SPOT image [spotimage.fr] and tell me what the military applications are when you've got 2m commercially available imagery and probably much, much better on the satellite that wasn't announced in a press release.

    • You don't think that since they are making this technology publicly known, it's not at least 5 years old and the stuff the that military is actually using is reading what I am typing right now?
    • Agricultural use of satellite imagery is nothing new. Space Imaging is a company that already markets infrared and other imagery [orbimage.com] to farmers. It can help ensure balanced irrigation and application of pesticides or fertilizers or predict crop yield. I believe several land grant universities are currently doing research on how to effectively utilize satellite imagery for agriculture purposes.

      I think someone already mentioned that this has lower resolution than SPOT, and many satellites have thrusters.
    • Talk about going on a "fishing expedition"...

      Hmmm, imagine if this thing were used for fish farther out to sea... which fishing client do you alert first?

      Client A has word the fish are circling in their exclusive economic zone.

      Client B is told the fish are coming to their side of the EEZ, or maybe heading out to international waters.

      Party C (not a client) jumps them both and snatches the bulk of the school of fish/tuna (or, pod of whales/calves if that's what they turn out to be...)

      Who's open to law suit.

      Im
  • Lame Excuse (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by XMilkProject (935232)
    Helps fisherman and farmers? That's a pretty lame excuse I'd say.

    Why don't they just come out and say "Lets us take a pictures of such a high resolution that we'll be able to capture screen shots of you pirating movies"

    hehe.
    • It seriously sounds like something you'd see in a comedy routine. It almost sounds like sarcasm or something. When I read it I was thinking "are these guys serious?"

      We all know what the satelite is for. Just seeing that Isreal and France is involved automatically tells you exactly what this satelite is for.
    • Well, spy sats are good enough to see the expression on your face, so be careful where you do your pr0n surfing...
  • wokka (Score:5, Funny)

    by kisrael (134664) on Monday March 13, 2006 @01:11PM (#14908639) Homepage
    If other nations get jealous of the camera and jets of this sattelite, will they have a bad case of Venus-envy?
  • yes, the ocean's ecology desperately needs a means to spot large schools of fish in mid-ocean...
  • This seems like a really expensive way to address over-fishing!
  • by Lord Satri (609291) <<alexandreleroux> <at> <gmail.com>> on Monday March 13, 2006 @01:20PM (#14908729) Homepage Journal
    This is good news especially when in light to the alarmist view of future NASA satellite projects [slashdot.org].

    For the SPOT program, the French are trying harder than the US to recover their fees. What I mean is SPOT data is not cheap when compared to NASA data (Landsat, ALI, Hyperion, etc). Yes, I know, this is different types of data, but the US has been in the past more prone to sell data at a lower price than the French. My uneducated guess is that Israel too will want to sell the data in order to cover their costs. This is just different goals: make the data available cheap and hope the advantages of massive use of data will justify the investment. That's the problem with Canada's Radarsat-1 and Radarsat-2 (not yet launched, but commercial). While Canada's Radarsat-C (launch timeframe: 2012-2014) data will be available at a minimal fee for the canadian government agencies. That said, I just hope this VENUS satellite will have a data policy which will allow widespread use of the data it collects.
    • The problem with NASA is that NASA is science focused. ESA, on the other hand, is still thinking what they are good for. So, NASA decides that anyone should use their data for science and applications. When the technology is mature, it's up to NOAA, the USGS or whoever, to, take the technology and make commercially viable.

      No ESA or NASA here, but a commercial company in the like of SPOT. These are for-profit companies, where you get to pay good money for your images. You get several tries and so on. But th

  • fisherman to locate large quantities of fish in mid-sea
    As if we weren't doing a bang-up job of it already [dfo-mpo.gc.ca].
  • by morganix (885178) on Monday March 13, 2006 @01:21PM (#14908740)

    Dr. Evil: Our early attempts at a tractor beam went through several preparations. Preparations A through G were a complete failure. But now, ladies and gentlemen, we finally have a working tractor beam, which we shall call... Preparation H.

    [Scott snickers]

    Dr. Evil:

    What?

    Scott Evil: Why don't you just call it operation ass-cream, you ass.

    Dr. Evil: I'm sorry, did you say you want some ice cream?

    Scott Evil: Yes, I'd love some chocolate ass-cream.

    Dr. Evil: Perhaps later.

    Number 2: Dr. Evil, I love your plan.

    Dr. Evil: You do?

    Frau Farbissina: YAH. IT'S A REALLY GOOD PLAN!

    Dr. Evil: Yes Frau, on the whole Preparation H feels good.

    [Scott resumes snickering]

    Dr. Evil: What is it now?

    Scott Evil: No, I totally agree with you. Preparation H does feel good... on the hole.

  • by dreemernj (859414) on Monday March 13, 2006 @01:22PM (#14908750) Homepage Journal
    Of all the things they could have named a dot in the sky after, they had to go and name it after an existing dot in the sky.
    • There are far more dots in the sky, than there are words to name them.
    • Of all the things they could have named a dot in the sky after, they had to go and name it after an existing dot in the sky.


      So instead of having 2 Venuses in the solar system, does this mean we will need to rename the second rock from the Sun?

      If so, how about Aphrodite, Ishtar, Ashtoreth, or Inanna? (Those last two have a nice ring to them.)

  • I think we all know what this satelite will be used for. I don't know why they talk about it like we are school children. Are we supposed to believe that this satelite is going to be used to help farmers? LOL

    I just wish they could have come up with something better than that.
    Sure I can believe this satelite will be used to help people, but even a generic answer such as "This satelite will be used to help people view and track organic structures from space" makes a bit more sense than tracking fish?

    I don't k
    • Ok I'll bite.

      Yes, it's funny to think "oh suuure... it's for farmers and fishermen".

      It's a whole different thing to let go of the humor and objectively state "we all know what it's really for".

      I don't know what it's for. I don't know satellites and satellite designs, so I would ask questions such as:

      - what kind of equipment do different types of spy satellites carry?
      - what kind of orbits do they use to maximize the results of their missions?
      - how heavy are they due to the kinds of equipment they ha

  • Then/Than! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Resident Netizen (769536) on Monday March 13, 2006 @01:26PM (#14908781)
    http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/than.html [wsu.edu]

    Jeez, kids, this ain't no third grade book report! /grammar nazi mode = off
  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Monday March 13, 2006 @01:31PM (#14908825)
    'The Israeli-French project will allow farmers to better treat their crops, fisherman to locate large quantities of fish in mid-sea...'

    There is already a threat of illegal fishing [unobserver.com] on the high seas, I only see this as being detrimental to the ocean environment.
    This article states, 'Over half of the global fish stocks are already fully exploited, and 25 percent are overexploited, depleted or recovering from depletion.'
    A better use would be to locate and protect certain species from depletion.

    But the real question is, does anyone care? Or will they only care when it is too late to do anything about it?
    • But the real question is, does anyone care? Or will they only care when it is too late to do anything about it?

      The situation you describe is known as "tragedy of the commons", and it occurs whenever private ownership of a scarce resource is prohibited while private use is not. Since the fishing companies share a common resource devoid of any recognized property rights, they have no financial incentive to conserve or improve the resources that they exploit. It makes sense, if you think about it; would yo

      • Since the fishing companies share a common resource devoid of any recognized property rights, they have no financial incentive to conserve or improve the resources that they exploit.

        Yeah! 'cuz this never happens with privately-owned natural resources! Heck, just look at the forest industry. They've done a great job of preserving the resources that they exploit! At least, they did in the magical fairy land known as "idealized capitalism".

        Unfortunately, in the real world, companies are just as likely to d
        • Care to provide a source for that comment about the forest industry? Everything I've run across indicates that privately owned forest lands are doing at least as well as their government-owned counterparts.[1]

          Fortunately, "in the real world," companies tend to invest a portion of their short-term profit in renewing their capital to ensure their long-term survival. In the process they are far more likely to fulfill the goals of conservation than any government edict.

          [1] One hastily-located source out of many
  • The hunt is on! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by agent0range_ (472103)
    ..fisherman to locate large quantities of fish in mid-sea...

    Soon there will be no place for our piscine enemies to hide! We will hunt them to the ends of the earth! Fuck the planet!

    Poor guys just can't catch a break... Soon the only food source left will be people.
    • Mmmmmm, this soylent green is tasty.

      So if I decide to go fishing out on the open seas I can just call these guys up and say "Hey, what's that sattelite you guys have up there say about fishing conditions? Where are they biting?"

      This is probably the worst cover story I've ever heard for a spy sattelite.
  • This satellite is so advanced that it can see into corn stalks to determine whether a particular farmer has a problem with European corn borer. It can count the number of aphids on a soybean leaf to determine whether you have reached economimc threshold and need to spray. Yes, this satellite will be a boon to farmers and increase yields all over the world.
  • Hi-Tech (Score:3, Funny)

    by DanTheLewis (742271) on Monday March 13, 2006 @01:46PM (#14908967) Homepage Journal
    "... will carry a unique Super Spectral Space Camera, and will have an advanced plasma-thruster engine for propulsion."
    Super Spectral Space Camera? That's nothing. The US is putting up a really unique Super Dog Duper Spectral Space Camera on its next Awesomely Rad Surveillance Satellite.

    I guess they went with plasma thrusters because they couldn't get the Hyperexploding Fusion Containment Rockets done in time.

  • by Ludedude (948645)
    Morons.
    • Actually, in Elizabethan English, 'then' is used exclusively and means the same as 'than' - there is no 'than'. Go and read some plays by William the Shaky Spear Man.

      Technically, Elizabethan English is Modern English, so the use of 'then' instead of 'than' is not as wrong as you believe, just old fashioned... :)
  • I hear it's going to have a Batphone for astronauts too.
  • by Seanasy (21730)

    Well the english on that site is really poor and I never trust Israeli tech sites to be accurate.

    According to this press release [www.cnes.fr], it's a multispectral sensor in VNIR with only 12 bands. I don't know where they get "super-spectral," I've never heard that term before. The IsraCast article has an AVIRIS image with it. AVIRIS is a hyperspectral (hundreds of bands) sensor but it's not on any satellite. It flies on planes. The only impressive thing about this seems to be the spatial resolution.

    And to all of y

  • So, are we declaring a global war on the Fishes in the oceans? It looks like it. It must the the fish oil... but let's just say that the Fishes know where Saddam put his WMDs.

    --
    Disclaimer: never for a second did I believe that Saddam had any WMDs. This should have become clear to everyone once the war started and he never used any. If I was Saddam and had WMDs, by god, I would strike those infidels with all the nukes and all the other great stuff in an eye blink.
  • Can it ride clams naked? Now THAT would be an achievement.
  • by jamesjw (213986) on Monday March 13, 2006 @06:40PM (#14911503) Homepage
    Regarding the Austin Powers reference above, and the title in the article.. one cant forget the Alan Parsons Project "Laser" joke.. and Eye in the sky was a song and album name for Alan Parsons Project..

    Umm..

    Okay so I was stretching for humor there..

    --Jim.
  • "fisherman to locate large quantities of fish in mid-sea"

    Do we really want fisherman to have these tools to essentially strip mine the ocean of even more fish? Give me a break!
  • Maybe this is the God-like entity PKD encountered and he just got a couple of the letters wrong (or fudged them on purpose).
  • Too bad the dreaded 2012 solar storms [slashdot.org] will to fry it to bits, four years after it's launch.

    Heh.
  • Having worked with NASA in the near past on a satellite project, I was amazed at the positively ANTIQUE technology they throw into space. Their engineers are mostly in their 50's and 60's and they got their EE degrees before PCs were invented. They build satellites using hundreds of millions of dollars worth of custom-designed discrete component logic, when the same functions could be performed hundreds of times faster and more reliably with integrated circuits for a small fraction of the cost. They still b

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