Our planet is constantly monitored by hundreds of space-borne instruments. This book describes the technology of those instruments and the sciences that provide useful information from them. It also discusses the political implications of space-borne monitoring. From the moment satellites were launched into orbit their ability to see what was happening on a global scale was appreciated - and feared. This well researched book strives to answer such diverse questions as: Are satellites really a threat to individual privacy? How bad, really, is climate change and global warming? Why can't we find Osama bin Laden? Does the world have enough fresh water? The military side of the story is linked to the big security issues that we face, such as terrorism and civil wars. The civilian side of the story involves numerous successful collaborations in weather forecasting, navigation, communications, and other such 'peaceful' uses of satellite surveillance. How the world handles the knowledge gained from these Earth watchers will be critical in the years to come, and Norris skillfully leads us through the issues and possible paths we can take.
Author's preface.- List of figures.- List of tables.- List of abbreviations.- Chapter 1: The threat of satellite images.- Chapter 2: Weather satellites.- Chapter 3: Climate change.- Chapter 4: Commercial surveillance: mapping on a large scale.- Chapter 5: Society and survival.- Chapter 6: Where am I? Where are they?.- Chapter 7: Monitoring nuclear weapons.- Chapter 8: Military imaging satellites: long-range intelligence.- Chapter 9: Military radio surveillance from space.- Chapter 10: The future.- References.- Index.
Watching Earth from Space derives from the author's unique experience of being part of the team that developed Europe's first and Japan's latest generations of weather satellites, of using satellite images to monitor the UK potato and sugar beet crops, and helping to define the use of satellites to monitor global change and prevent nuclear war. Pat Norris's direct access to politicians, civil servants, technologists, and both military and civilian users of space images worldwide has also proved essential to the accuracy of the story told in this book. This book is the natural successor to Pat Norris's book on the origins of spy satellites: Spies in the Sky (Springer-Praxis, 2008), which told the story of the first military satellites to monitor the Earth.
From the reviews: "I thought this book would be more about the pros and cons and geeky details of surveillance. Instead, it is mostly filled with technical details about digital photography and satellite construction and deployment. There are also a lot of details about public policy regarding surveillance and land use. This is a great reference book ! ." (Valerie Neer, Goodreads, June, 2011) "This book was very interesting and very descriptive and detailed. ! I did learn some very amazing facts about the surveillance from outer space. ! I would like to thank the author Pat Norris and the co- authors for creating such a factual and descriptive book about what really happens above us. I learned alot about the survalliance of cameras and satellites ! ." (Morgan Janicke, Goodreads, June, 2011) "It read much like a textbook. I found a lot of the basic conceptual information very interesting ! . this information is probably very useful to people who work in communications or with satellite systems ! . The book addresses a number of situations in which satellites are employed such as monitoring global warming, commercial imaging, and radio signal detection. ! The book might have been worth reading just for that information ! ." (James, Goodreads, June, 2011) "This volume is truly an eye-opener. Pat Norris has written this easy-to-read and fact-packed book, one that underscores the vital monitoring of our planet for a variety of purposes. ! Furthermore, this book delves into the possible clash between public good and market forces, as well as future development of systems to deal with emerging needs. ! Thanks to the author's access to technologists, military and civil users around the globe, including politicians and civil servants ! ." (Leonard David, Coalition for Space Exploration, July, 2011)