Yesterday, I ran across a blog post about DARPA’s most recent efforts. It’s a program called SpaceView. Spacejunk seems to be a threat so DARPA has begun efforts to track defunct satellites (there are over 500,000) and trash. They need help from amateur astronomers with the right hardware to locate the debris to avoid the expense of a surveillance network. I thought that this post on DARPA was interesting considering its deep roots in the history of computers and it’s role in defining the military-industrial complex that fuels the development of technology. A participant is currently only awarded with his own feelings of value and aid (perhaps safety), although this could change:
“We are also exploring a mutually beneficial partnership that can last for the long term. This could potentially include time-sharing on telescopes, upgraded hardware at the astronomer’s site, or financial compensation.”
So perhaps this program could deepen the public’s (amateur’s) understanding of astronomy together with technology, it’s purpose seems like a crowd sourcing effort. I couldn’t help but think that the information collected has the potential in the future to be used for more than the purposes currently publicly addressed.
“This network will be remotely controlled acting as one large sensor to monitor known space debris, as well as the discovery of new potential threats.”
If you are interested, you can read more at http://www.darpa.mil/NewsEvents/Releases/2012/11/09.aspx