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David Hamilton


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Could we orbit a telescopic satellite 1 light hour above the earth, and use it to zoom in on crimes, after the fact?

Just an odd thought... I assume it would be too far to get a clear image... but we are getting much better at that sort of thing...

Could we see if someone was really defending themselves in an infrared shot? A getaway vehicle? Or, is that too far to have any predictable orbit or make out something so small?


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  • Jan 30 2013: Very unpractical. Just imagine the tremendous precision it would require just to keep track of earth, not considering it would only see, at most, half of the planet at any given time, other factors like clouds, storms and other atmospheric perturbations would hide wide areas. And the light reaching that satellite, I think, it would be too dim to get any details. Besides it would take at least one hour to send the commands for any required adjustments.
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      Jan 30 2013: Ahh yes... I was considering an orbit above major cities for example... but, the sun is only 8 light minutes away, so an orbit around earth farther away than that would be impossible. Would require 32 satellites... minimum... Pretty insane... better for sci fi than science.
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        Jan 30 2013: But I, for one, am delighted you are back with your ideas and have been wondering whether you were busy putting some of your more viable projects in motion.
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          Jan 31 2013: Thanks for that Fritzie. I miss a few of you guys too. I'm just getting too far off the beaten path to post in political debates now, and that's my favorite stuff talk about, so I've got to find another home for my ramblings. Writing more fiction at the moment.

          If you thought any of my projects were viable, and you know people with drive, tell them to go for it. I'm probably gonna end up living in a forest or a desert somewhere without internet, someone might as well use them, lol.
      • Jan 30 2013: At such distance, I don't think "oribit" (or more accurately spinning around the earth ) is a viable idea, just consider the tremendous speed a satellite like that should travel, at 1 hour light it would have to go at about 100 MILLION miles an hour in order to keep looking at a fixed point on earth, I don't know how much energy it would require, but I'm certain it is a veeeeeery huge amount, and at such distance I don't think there are any fuel stations, and options like solar panels won't provide even a small fraction of it, so how would you keep a continuous supply of fuel for such rocket???, how much would it cost???, who's going to pay for it???

        There are other problems, like: the size of the orbit which in rough numbers is about 2 BILLION miles, so even if the satellite is the size of a base ball, there is a big chance for a collision with something big enough to destroy it... so how would you keep it safe???

        So if the optical technology for such a project existed, a much better idea, from my point of view would be a set of several of such satellites located at "geo-static" locations...

        One last problem: suppose the satellite informs you about a crime that happened 1 hour ago... no wait... the signal takes 1 hour to travel from the satellite to earth so actually the crime happened 2 hours ago... enough time for any criminal to leave the city.
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          Jan 31 2013: Yup completely impossible, didn't even look up how many light minutes away from the sun we were, there would not be gravity to support an orbit. I just came up with this after hearing about the new next gen telescope and programming NASA is working on, which could in essence re focus an image, after the picture was taken... and at the same time thinking about a short story where humans send a faster than light speed craft away from us with a camera, so we can remotely view the past.

          So I just thought... Combine them... Even though the first actually makes the second completely unnecessary.

          As to time though... I wasn't expecting it to be perfect, just give you what cars were in the area when shots went off... etc. Bits and pieces. Geostatic locations are the way to go.
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        Jan 30 2013: more things to look up:

        - orbital velocity and orbital period as functions of radius
        - orbit types and their characteristics (especially geosynchronous and geostationary)
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          Jan 31 2013: The concept of orbit at 1 light hour was just bonkers... didn't think about how close the sun is in light time. It won't even feel our gravity. Geosynchronous (that's the one which maintaines the exact speed of the earth right?), pointed at static dense population centers, taking enourmous data pictures, which could then be subpoenaed, in portion, by law enforcement provided they have compelling evidence a crime was commited... would actually just make sense... but i'm sure they're already working on it, and you won't need a subpoena, or warrant, etc, they'll just pay people to watch us : p
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        Jan 31 2013: In my experience, David, those of us who are kind of "different" can often do a lot of good through unique sorts of creative interventions in the status quo- the "what is someone like you doing in a place like this?" situations. You have to decide its important enough, though, and situate yourself where you believe you can make a difference.

        It can be stressful, and I totally understand the off-the-grid, in the woods pull.
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          Feb 1 2013: I'm not a very stressed out person. I'm just non violent, so I can't really make money in "polite" society. If you're not going to play the game, and make a living, there's not really much for you in cities.
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        Feb 1 2013: I'm not violent or competitive either. What I meant is that trying to change things that just aren't right often means swimming upstream alone, which can be stressful and doesn't feel worth it to a lot of people. I have tended to do that sort of thing, speak truth to power as it were, because I can't just stand by and watch.
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          Feb 6 2013: You're not just standing and watching... You're contributing your energy and taxes... Have done so for your entire life. Society, culture, government, community... whatever you want to call it... It is the mechanism through which violent psychopaths, use fear and sex, to manipulate good men and women into commiting horrifc murders. The only solution, is for people to stop contributing. There is nothing to fear, except the violent nutjobs who believe they have the right to govern you. If something was good, it would not require forced participation.
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        Feb 6 2013: So you don't see, then, how one could do more good than harm by working for something worthwhile?

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