It is pretty certain that we have the technical capability now for
producing such large segmented mirrors for visible light imaging.
The question is of the cost. I was arguing that commercial
satellite interests investing in this would lower the cost for the
production of satellites for planetary imaging. There are
privacy concerns, but there would be some beneficial societal effects
We can imagine that such satellites are orbited in sufficient number
to provide world-wide round-the-clock coverage to be able to
distinguish faces and license plates. You could use "light
intensification" or infrared viewing devices for imaging at night.
This though raises the spectre of "Big Brother" in outer space.
However, an advantage which be the great reduction in crime this
would produce. For any crime committed you could trace back in the
images the houses that the perpetrators orginated from.
This would be preventive in the sense the perpetrators would know
they would soon be tracked and identified. However, in the case of
terrorists in many cases they wouldn't care that they would be caught
or identified. But this could be preventive if certain suspected
terrorists could be put under round-the-clock surveillance. Then
certain illegal activities or purchases could be identified beforehand
to stop the terrorist acts before they take place. You could also do
spectroscopy from space so that production and/or transport of
explosives would automatically set up a red flag to alert to the
possibility of terrorism.
The privacy concerns would be magnified even further by ongoing
research on imaging methods that can see through clothing and even
walls, if these methods were placed on satellites:
First Image from Revolutionary T-ray Camera; Sees through Fog,
Clothing and into Deep Space.
By Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer
posted: 01:30 pm ET
11 February 2003
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
T-Rays Advance Toward Airport Screening.
A new laser design helps create usable terahertz radiation, which
penetrates common materials but doesn't harm tissue.
By Neil Savage
"Zhang founded a company, Zomega Terahertz that makes a laptop-size T-
ray detector that can be attached to a flying drone for remote
detection of chemical and biological substances. While the trillionths
of a watt produced by the infrared laser in the device is fine for
spectroscopic analysis of air samples, it's not adequate for imaging,
and the laser technology is unlikely to improve enough to be used in
airport security, Zhang says. He believes that quantum cascade lasers
are the future of T-ray detection systems: "They will be the final
winner in the market."
The question: would you favor the use of such satellites if it would
virtually eliminate crime and terrorism?
How about if the imaging was only available to government agencies
and it required a court order to initiate preventive prior
surveillance or the tracing back in video of an individuals movements