Satellites are watching the planet Earth carefully to watch life-threatening situations.
Author: Joshua Stevens / NASA Earth Observatory
Mackenzie Thompson manages initiatives for marketing and mission missions with the Discovery Foundation and the Save the Life Initiative, which help communities learn life-saving techniques such as CPR – a valuable skill to have both on Earth and in space. Thompson contributed this article to Space.com's expert voices: Op-Ed & Insights.
If we want to save people from natural disasters, we must continue to invest in satellites that contribute to our ability to see the planet because the satellites provide us with important information about our planet.
Satellites not only allow accurate weather forecasts but also help mapping areas affected by natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, forest fires and droughts. They also give us the perspective needed to prioritize the way we choose to save the planet by (among other things) providing life-saving help to individuals and communities around the world.
Indeed, the images that the satellites transmit are transcendent. They show the beauty of the Earth – mountains and oceans, rivers and seas, continents and landscapes below. [Earth from Space: The Amazing Photos by the GOES-16 Satellite]
The prospect of this type determines the budgets and directs the way space agencies and private satellite imaging companies present their missions. Just by seeing a challenge such as a storm can turn into a crisis like a Category 3 hurricane (or higher) – just by seeing the Earth from the point of view of the heavens – we can better understand how quickly the danger can be become a deadly threat.
By mapping the path of destruction from space, we can alert people to avoid dangerous or impassable areas and to outline a different route, while giving relief to those who have neither had the means nor the foreknowledge to leave in time. This intelligence, the images made possible by having satellites in orbit, increases the likelihood of saving as many people as possible.
To see images of these satellites is to know that we have the equipment to see better (to act faster) than ever before. That is why we must prepare to teach everything from Basic Life Support (BLS) to CPR so that we can apply the images we get from above to realize our ability to see ground-safe images.
We must support the increased use of Earth observation satellites as technology expands at exponential speeds while costs are decreasing – they you are lower – than many can imagine.
We must be champions of the actions whose works are visible from every angle, thanks to the works we perform and the rescue skills we help communities to practice and possess.
Our actions can be a sight for the whole world. The results, such as areas evacuated before the storm or tsunami, are something that satellites can capture from the low earth orbit of space. Photographs can not only remember our efforts but also promote them so that we can do more to improve our best achievements. Satellites are essential to the outcome of this plan.
With determination and many high resolution imagery, we can strive to save lives around the world.
Now is the time to start our mission.
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