All the Arguments for Space Exploration Ever — Part 4

On the 29th of October, 1999 the Cyclone Paradip made landfall in the Indian state of Orissa. Devastation followed and resulted in 10,000 fatalities. On October 12, 2014, Cyclone Hudhud makes landfall in Orissa and resulted in 124 fatalities. Two powerful numbers but the number of fatalities was only a fraction of what it was fifteen years in the past. Wonder what changed between the two cyclone strikes?

Weather monitoring through satellites

The early warning issued by Indian Meteorological Department in advance helped in to evacuate most of the vulnerable population including fishermen resulting in the minimal loss of life . The Indian Meteorological Department depends on the ISRO’s Oceansat-2 Scatterometer data to predict wind generation patterns and which allowed them to keep an eye on these cyclogenesis patterns. Lest we forget, the contribution of our space program on social welfare.

India’s first broadband network on EDUSAT for schools — ViCTERS (Versatile ICT Enabled Resource for Students) — inaugurated by Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam, the ex-President of India on 28 July 2005 in Thiruvananthapuram has revolutionized classrooms through interactive IP-based technology called “IT@School Project”. Kerala has since demonstrated how Edusat could be used to successfully empower teacher. Image source

There are over 2000 communication satellites in Earth orbits today servicing telephony, television (including Direct-To-Home services) and satellite radio networks round the world for hundreds of millions of people. It is important to note that such communication is the only source of information for remote communities. India’s EDUSAT program is used for tele-education targeted primarily at the rural children where access to alternative information is scarce.

Drought monitoring and early warning systems for agriculture have been developed thanks to space research and are used to prepare for droughts around the world. Similarly, forest fires, cyclones, floods and earthquakes are monitored or their impact assessed through satellite data.

Through the use of satellite imagery, a project called Satellite Sentinel Project provides an early warning system to deter mass atrocities by focusing world attention and generating rapid responses on human rights and human security concerns.

Regular monitoring of tropospheric pollutants like ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, etc. is done through satellites. This helps us track the impact that humanity is having on the climate of our planet and to take steps to slow down the reality of climate change.

Earth orbiting instruments are changing the way we measure air quality.

To sum up, the role of space technology in saving lives and preserving our environment is an under-appreciated but essential element in our modern lives.

Also read other parts of the series:

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