Tiny satellites show us the Earth as it changes in near-real-time
Digital maps and detailed images of the world’s surface are readily available online. Will Marshall, cofounder of Planet Labs, says that improvement and refreshment of existing data could easily be accomplished. In this talk, he introduces minute earth-observing satellites no bigger than 10 x 10 x 30 centimetres. When launched as a flock, they provide high-res images – updated daily – of the entire planet. William Marshall calls himself a “quantum physicist cum space scientist in search of world peace and harmony.”
Based in San Francisco, Planet Labs design, build and operate satellites they call “Doves.” Their in-house research and production facility provides the ability to comprehensively test individual subsystems for space-readiness. The world’s largest constellation of Earth-imaging satellites consists of 28 Doves. Together with subsequent launches, 71 Doves in total are imaging the entire earth every day.
William and his cofounders at Planet Labs aim to show the earth in near-real-time. The images compiled by their doves will help to inform future humanitarian and commercial projects worldwide and enable people to make the best decisions for earth.
„Fresh data from any place on Earth is foundational to solving commercial, environmental, and humanitarian challenges. Our global sensing and analytics platform unlocks the ability to understand and respond to change at a local and global scale.“
Before starting Planet Labs with his partners, Marshall was a scientist at NASA/USRA.
Header: Screenshot from TED video. Garage image courtesy of ©Planet Labs.