Grandma complained everytime they put a hole in the sky with one of those space rockets the weather went to hell. The Space Program was screwing up the planet. Maybe they can make up for it.
I found this on Boeing's Intranet.
Satellite Data to Track Wildlife: Elephants in Space.
Threatened by habitat loss, poaching, pollution and other factors, wildlife species across the globe are declining in number at an alarming rate. Scientists from the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in New York City have been monitoring endangered wildlife populations for more than 100 years. For decades, traditional capture and tag methods have been a primary tool, but they are not the most efficient when dealing with large animals and animals in remote locations. The WCS's recent use of satellite technology, sponsored by NASA, may revolutionize the way endangered wildlife in remote areas of the world are counted and monitored.
Using cameras fixed to an orbiting satellite 450 kilometers (280 miles) overhead, WCS scientists say that they will be able to take high resolution photographs of specific areas to determine the wildlife composition within that area. They will then compare images from different dates to see changes, either population growth or decline, over time. The satellite, called Quickbird, is owned by DigitalGlobe, a private company.
To test their proposed use of satellite images, WCS scientists recently counted their own animal populations. High-tech maps produced by Quickbird, which orbited the Bronx Zoo in November 2004, have revealed incredibly clear images of everything from giraffes to Thomson's gazelles. According to members of the team, the detail of the images taken from so far away has been particularly impressive. "We're counting individual gazelles in the zoo's African Plains exhibit from a satellite 280 miles up," said Dr. Scott Bergen. "That's like standing on top of the Empire State Building and spotting a deer in Maine."
Preliminary results of the study have left scientists hopeful that the technology can be used to monitor endangered wildlife populations that live in hard-to-reach locations, saving them time and money while saving the animals the hardship of being captured and tagged.
DigitalGlobe developed Quickbird to offer highly accurate, commercial high-resolution imagery of Earth. According to the company's Web site, "QuickBird's global collection of panchromatic and multispectral imagery is able to geolocate features to within 23 meters (75.5 feet) and create maps in remote areas without the use of ground control points.
WCS, the Bronx Zoo's parent organization, currently operates more that 350 field conservation projects in 54 countries around the world. WCS's mission is to combine the resources of wildlife parks in New York with field projects around the globe to help sustain our planet's biological diversity. The project was funded in part by a grant from NASA in support of the Agency's mission to improve life here, extend life to there, and to find life beyond.
I've edited out the patting themselves on the back and the pictures that were absolutely undecipherable as they appeared on the site. Hopefully the real pictures are better but it sounded like they were relying more on shadows than seeing the critters themselves. Like those pictures of camels in the desert where you can't see the camel but the shadow is huge.
That said, if it works, it sounds like a cost effective way to check up on the beasts.