I came across this News Article
At first i thought it sounded great, but the part that stuck out to me was this quote:
SpaceView officials are actively seeking information from individual amateur astronomers about their equipment, sites and observing habits to help
keep a trained eye on this untidy state of affairs. (space debris)
While that seemed to raise a few flags in my mind, i gave it the benefit of the doubt at first.
I went to their site to see more about the program.
Space Views Website
SpaceView seeks to provide the amateur astronomer with the opportunity to make a difference in the task of protecting our nation’s space assets. We
are actively seeking information from individual astronomers about their equipment, sites, and observing habits. We are also exploring a mutually
beneficial partnership that can last for the long term. This could potentially include time-sharing on telescopes, upgraded hardware at the
astronomer’s site, or financial compensation.
When you go to register you are asked:
Name (first and last), Address, phone number, what kind of observing equipment you have, where you observe from, details about your telescope, details
about your camera(s) and mounts, if you are on/off the grid while there, ect.
This program advertises that it would consider paying for you to "upgrade" your site and equipment to allow it to become automated and then shared
with DARPA for them to use. In their promotional video they clearly say in big shocking letters how EXPENSIVE it would be for them to upgrade their
own equipment, so instead they would pay to upgrade the public's instead?
Part of me thinks this is probably just a really awesome way to involve the help of the Amateur Astronomy Community in something important (tracking
space debris), and there are a lot of smart guys out there who do this stuff in their spare time anyway. Im sure they could be a vital and beneficial
asset to this program.
The Tin Foil hat side of me wonders if tracking viewing habits and locations could give them a map of areas to avoid with their experimental aircraft,
and having the most sophisticated equipment in the amateur community plugged into their network with automated controls in the hands of DARPA just
lets them point their (publics) equipment someplace else when they are going to be flying through the neighborhood.
Anyways, thought it was interesting enough to share.